Florian Sénéchal, a notable classic specialist and trusted sprint train rider, has had it announced that he will be donning the Arkea-B&B Hotels jersey starting January 1, 2024. The announcement adds another dimension to the team’s ambitions, laying the groundwork for a robust challenge in sprints and classic races. It marks a statement of intent by Arkea-B&B Hotels after already announcing the signing of Arnaud Démare next season. It’s also a key moment against the backdrop of the Soudal-QuickStep/Jumbo-Visma merger too.
In a heartfelt statement, Sénéchal highlighted the influence of Emmanuel Hubert, the team’s General Manager, in his decision-making process. “Emmanuel knew how to find the words, immediately put me at ease, and quickly explained what he would expect of me,” Sénéchal said. He added, “I liked the freedom he intends to give me sometimes, the mission he wants to entrust to me in Arnaud Démare’s future train of sprinters.” Sénéchal was further swayed by Hubert’s belief in his untapped potential as a professional cyclist, making him eager to commit to the team.
Reuniting with Arnaud Démare
A significant aspect of Sénéchal’s move is his reunion with Arnaud Démare, whom he describes as a great leader and an old acquaintance from their early racing days at CC Wasquehal. The two have maintained a close relationship over the years, and their professional reunion is expected to bolster the team’s performance, particularly in sprint finishes.
A French ‘Flandrien’
Emmanuel Hubert also weighed in, describing Sénéchal as a French ‘Flandrien’—a reference to the hard-nosed Belgian riders famous for excelling in the cobbled classics. Hubert is optimistic about what Sénéchal can bring to the team, particularly in terms of experience, knowledge, and desire. The former French road champion is no stranger to winning races, but he also understands the subtleties of assisting other riders, especially sprinters—a skill he honed alongside Fabio Jakobsen.
Future Implications for Arkea-B&B Hotels
Arkea-B&B Hotels aims to influence both the sprints and the classics, two competition areas that align perfectly with Sénéchal’s strengths. “All these good vibes quickly convinced me that Arkea-B&B Hotels was the team within which I would be able to fully flourish during these next two seasons,” Sénéchal noted.
The acquisition of Sénéchal is yet another strategic feather in Arkea-B&B Hotels’ cap, as they seek to continue their ascent in professional cycling. The signing also reiterates the team’s vision and willingness to invest in talent, especially in a post-COVID era where team dynamics and planning have taken on new dimensions. Senechal’s biggest victories include becoming French national champion in 2022, a stage of the Vuelta in 2021 and Le Samyn in 2019.
As 2024 looms, the cycling world watches with anticipation to see how this new alliance will translate into podium finishes and how Sénéchal’s robust capabilities can be fully utilised within a team eager to leave its mark on the classics and sprint stages alike.