FDJ-Suez lay out ambitious plans with year on year budget increases

FDJ Suez 2023 Tour de France femmes

FDJ-SUEZ’s manager, Stephen Delcourt, has laid out ambitious plans for the French women’s WorldTour team in a conversation with L’Equipe, revealing that the squad will build around Évita Muzic, who will play an increasingly central role.

The team, which has had a strong start to the season with victories by Grace Brown at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Muzic at the Vuelta, is dreaming big. “We don’t set any limits,” Delcourt proclaimed, underscoring their lofty goals.

Muzic at the helm

Évita Muzic, who has been with FDJ-SUEZ since 2018, has steadily progressed each year. Her recent victory at the Vuelta was a significant milestone. “Évita is a strong symbol of our team,” Delcourt stated. “She’s not just the symbol of French cycling, but a great international champion. Her aim is to be the best, not just the best French rider.”

Muzic’s development is supported by her long-term coach, Flavien Soenen, creating a continuity that Delcourt believes is vital for the team’s success. “Évita is the one carrying the team’s project today and will share this responsibility in the future.”

Transfer talks and future stars

Delcourt did not shy away from discussing potential changes in the roster. He acknowledged that both Marta Cavalli and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig are nearing the end of their contracts. Cavalli is still recovering from a serious accident in the 2022 Tour de France, while Uttrup Ludwig had a challenging start to the season but aims to regain her top 10 status for her summer goals: the Olympics, Tour de France, and World Championships.

Delcourt remains optimistic about retaining Grace Brown, whose contract is also ending. “Grace has her destiny in her hands,” he said. “If she wants to continue with us, I hope we can find an agreement. It’s unimaginable for me to see her wearing another jersey.”

Budget boost and future plans

FDJ-SUEZ plans to increase its budget by 15-20% annually until 2028 to support its ambitions. “Our budget is €4 million, but costs have exploded,” Delcourt explained, citing the increasing number of races and associated expenses. “We’ve put in place altitude training camps and aerodynamic tests. To meet these needs, we require significant growth.”

The team is also in advanced negotiations with title sponsors FDJ and Suez to extend their support beyond 2025, despite interest from other potential sponsors. Delcourt expressed confidence in their continued backing, highlighting the loyalty and trust built over the years.

Targeting the biggest races

Looking ahead, FDJ-SUEZ has set its sights on winning the three Grand Tours and the six major classics within the next five years. “We had a first cycle between 2020 and 2023 to establish ourselves in the WorldTour. Now, from 2024 to 2028, we are setting ultra-ambitious WorldTour goals. We want to tick off the biggest races,” Delcourt emphasised.

The team’s aspirations are also reflected in the speculation surrounding Demi Vollering’s potential move to FDJ-SUEZ. Delcourt did not deny the rumours, seeing them as a testament to the team’s strength and appeal. “Demi Vollering is a huge champion. At 27, she has already won the biggest races. Any big-name cyclist who shares our ambitions will fit in with us.”