Pascal Bidegorry out
The rumours are true... today Banque Populaire issued a short release confirming the departure of their ORMA 60 turned maxi-trimaran skipper Pascal Bidégorry.
It reads: "After seven years of fruitful cooperation, Team Banque Populaire and Pascal Bidégorry cease their collaboration from today due to a disagreement on strategy ahead of the sports brand Banque Populaire in sailing."
At present Banque Populaire, who are one of the longest term sponsors in French sailing, have their 40m maxi-trimaran, holder of the outright west to east Transatlantic Record and certainly the world's fastest offshore boat, but which over the last two winters has made just one attempt to beat the Jules Verne Trophy.
The question is now - who will replace Bidégorry. Michel Desjoyeaux has been mooted as favourite. The company Foncia, the theory-mongers point out, is owned by parent company Banque Populaire. But following his participation in the Barcelona World Race, Desjoyeaux is shortly to be very tied up getting to grips with his new MOD70 trimaran with his sponsor Foncia, although in theory an attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy would take place over the winter in the down time for the MOD70.
There is also the question of the new Foncia IMOCA 60 which is believed to have been acquired by Banque Populaire for a Vendee Globe for someone. And the team also support, among other smaller sponsorships in French sailing, Jeanne Gregoire's Figaro campaing.
However despite the companies being related there has never previously any union between Banque Populaire, who have previously been rivals on the ORMA 60 circuit and remains competitors in the D35s in Switzerland.