Ex-Quick Step cycling team pro Jérôme Pineau confirmed that his "long-rumoured launch of a professional continental team will take place next season," with Direct Énergie sprinter Bryan Coquard "lined up as its marquee signing," according to Peter Cossins of CYCLING WEEKLY. Former Fortuneo secondary sponsor Vital Concept will be the "primary backer of the team," which is expected to start with around 20 riders. Pineau said, "We'll start off with a three-year deal, initially at Pro Continental level, with the aim of entering the WorldTour, if it still exists, during this period." He added that he could not confirm the names of any of the riders he is hoping to sign before the Aug. 1 deadline for signing new contracts. It "seems almost certain that Coquard will be one of the new team's leaders." Pineau revealed that the team's budget will be "between five and eight million euros ($5.7M-$9.2M)," but french publication L'Équipe believes the total figure could be more than €10M ($11.5M) (CYCLING WEEKLY, 7/17).