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Intermarché-Wanty supports the Restos du Coeur on the occasion of its 50th anniversary

On the eve of its seventh Tour de France, Intermarché-Wanty has unveiled a special jersey in tribute to the 50th anniversary of VC Ath, the club at the origin of the Belgian World Team. The shirt will be worn by the riders during the two rest days and marks an exceptional partnership with the Restos du Coeur.

In 1974, Vélo Club Ath was founded as an amateur club in the Walloon region of Hainaut. Half a century later, this same VC Ath has risen through the ranks and is now part of the world’s cycling elite under the name Intermarché-Wanty, which is entering its seventh Tour de France. A remarkable history to which Jean-François Bourlart’s team is paying tribute on this 111th Tour de France with a special tunic made by Verge Sport, worn on the two rest days, Monday July 8 in Orléans and Monday July 15 in Gruissan.

This special tunic is a faithful replica of the jersey worn by VC Ath during its early years in the amateur ranks. Purple, white and yellow are the colors of the town of Ath, a city with a rich past and exceptional folklore. The predominant yellow is combined with the mauve and white stripes in a sober and elegant way, on the torso, neck and piping. 

The chest features the logo of Restos du Cœur, a charity supported by Intermarché-Wanty during the Tour de France. A testament to the Belgian team’s strong societal commitment, the team wanted to take advantage of the Tour’s visibility to promote the actions of the French association fighting poverty.

Every year, the association distributes more than 170 million meals, and will support a further 1.3 million people in 2022-2023. Founded in 1985 by Coluche, Restos du Coeur is present throughout France, with 112 departmental associations and 2,333 reception sites. On a daily basis, thousands of volunteers work to combat poverty and exclusion in all its forms, distributing meals but also offering social, educational and cultural support, or help in finding a job.

Over 75% of Restos du Coeur’s operations depend on donations from the public, and the organization must constantly make its voice heard in order to raise the funds needed to carry out its day-to-day activities. In addition to raising public awareness, the Intermarché-Wanty riders will be pedaling to raise funds for Restos du Coeur. All donors who show their generosity via this kitty during the Tour de France will be entered in a draw for an exceptional prize: a CUBE Litening C:68X bike, identical to the one used by the Tour de France riders, worth almost €10,000, as well as five Intermarché-Wanty team outfits. 

This is the link to the fundraising campaign of Restos du Coeur.

Jean-François Bourlart (CEO Continuum Sports): 

“The VC Ath is the club behind the team we know today as Intermarché-Wanty. Jean-Marc Rossignon, Yves Lessens and I took over the club around 2000. We were former amateur racers, and each with our own skills, we wanted to help young people in the region get into cycling. As victories and opportunities arose, the club grew in the hierarchy of the country’s amateur clubs, and in 2007 we moved up to the Continental category under the name of one of our historic sponsors Storez-Ledecq Matériaux, now Groupe Gobert Matériaux. In 2011, we reached a new milestone in the Pro Continentale category, and in 2021, we reached the highest level of world cycling, the World Tour. An incredible adventure, made possible by our loyal supporters. In addition to Intermarché, Wanty and Gobert, many other sponsors and partners have contributed, including Willems Verandas, Accent Jobs, Circus, Cube and all the companies that have supported us over the years, including one that has followed us for over 30 years: the Liegeois-Allary company in Blicquy. It’s the passion and commitment of everyone – riders, volunteers, employees, sponsors and technical partners – that have made this incredible project a success.”

“To celebrate these 50 years and pay tribute to our history, we wanted a special edition of our jersey with Verge Sport for this Tour de France 2024, vintage-looking and in the colors of the very first VC Ath jersey. This jersey will bring back fond memories for all those who have been close or far from this project. It’s a source of pride to see our riders wearing this jersey on the world’s most prestigious cycling race on rest days. This anniversary will continue right up to our Gala evening on October 25, which we’ll be holding for the first time in Tournai. By the end of 2023, we had heard the call for help from the Restos du Coeur, who were having to cope with increasing numbers of requests from people in great difficulty. Throughout our history, we have always helped and supported charitable associations and projects that were close to our hearts. Thanks to the relationship we’ve built up with the Restos du Coeur and, in particular, their departmental association 59A based just twenty kilometers from our Tournai Race Department, we wanted to take advantage of the Tour de France to give greater visibility to this association and their actions. We’re proud to stand alongside the Restos du Coeur and to contribute in our own small way during the Tour de France.”

Maxime Segers (Chief Operating Officer):

“Our action for the Restos du Coeur revolves around three main pillars: firstly, highlighting their day-to-day action. The month of July offers an exceptional showcase for the work of the thousands of volunteers who work all year round to combat poverty. Secondly, we’d like to make a financial contribution to Restos du Coeur and take advantage of our community’s support to raise funds during the summer. Last but not least, we’ll also be supporting the societal actions of the departmental associations, as children from families benefiting from Restos du Coeur will have the unique opportunity to meet the players in the Tour de France and share unforgettable, heart-warming moments with the Intermarché-Wanty riders during the two rest days in Orléans and Gruissan.”

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