Lotto Cycling Project secures Belisol as co-sponsor for three years
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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Lotto Cycling Project secures Belisol as co-sponsor for three years

by Ben Atkins at 3:00 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Belgian ProTeam joined by window manufacturer to ride under previous name of women’s team

lotto-belisolThe Lotto Cycling Project has at last managed to attract a co-sponsor, in Belgian window manufacturer Belisol, on a three-year deal, according to Het Laatste Nieuws. The company sponsored the women’s team now known as Lotto Honda between 2006 and 2009, and the men’s team will take on the same name used, Lotto-Belisol, meaning that there is no longer room in the title for bike supplier Ridley.

“We know that sports, especially cycling, is a concern of the business,” said the team’s sports director Marc Sergeant.

Despite OmegaPharma-Lotto finishing at the top of the International Cycling Union (UCI) World ranking, the loss of World number one Philippe Gilbert means that the new team starts from considerably lower down.

“The new composition of our team is in thirteenth place in the UCI rankings,” Sergeant admitted. “A return to the top ten is our primary goal.”

With US superteam HTC-Highroad disappearing, and Leopard Trek and RadioShack forced to merge, due to an inability to secure adequate sponsorship, the Lotto Cycling Project management knows how important it was to secure a second backer for such a long period.

"In these difficult economic times it is not easy to obtain the long term commitment of a sponsor, even though a lot of companies remain convinced of the importance and benefits of sports sponsorship," said administrative manager Bill Oliver. "Belisol is a renowned Belgian company that also has ambitions internationally, and has experience in sports. It’s an ideal partner for our historic sponsor Lotto.

“Together they ensure the Belgian anchoring of the team,” he added, “where it remains our objective to give Belgian riders opportunities to perform at the highest level."

Much of the 2011 Omega Pharma-Lotto management continuing with Lotto-Belisol, and most of the riders sticking around, including André Greipel, Jürgen Roelandts, Jelle Vanendert and Jurgen Van Den Broeck. Despite this, the team’s WorldTour license application is being treated by the UCI as a new bid, rather than a renewal of the existing Omega Pharma-Lotto license, which expired this year.

Last week the UCI released a list of eight teams, which did not include Lotto-Belisol, that have been successful in their license applications. The Belgian team – along with the other eleven applicants – must hope that the UCI License Commission approves its application; the securing of a second name-sponsor should go a long way to achieving this.

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