Project 1t4i relaunched as Team Argos Shimano
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Friday, March 30, 2012

Project 1t4i relaunched as Team Argos Shimano

by VeloNation Press at 7:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Multi-billion Euro energy company to power team for next three years

Team Argos ShimanoAs anticipated beforehand, the merged Argos Oil and North Sea Group company is the new backer of the 1t4i team, which was officially launched today in Rotterdam and will be known henceforth as Team Argos-Shimano.

The squad, which narrowly missed out on a WorldTour licence over the winter, but is heavily tipped to achieve that mark next year as well as receive a wildcard place in this year’s Tour de France, has been developing steadily year-by-year.  They have continued to build up from the previous Skil Shimano team and feature talented riders such as Marcel Kittel, John Degenkolb, Patrick Gretsch and others. It also has a women's squad.

The three year backing of the Argos Oil North Sea Group gives it the financial security to continue its growth, with the newly-revealed sponsors being sure about the need to compete in the very top events in the sport in order to maximize the exposure of its brand.

That point was emphasized during today’s presentation and with the team already racing successfully this year, it seems clear that this is a squad on the up.

Team Argos Shimano“I am very happy that I can finally mention the name of our new main sponsor,” said managing director Iwan Spekenbrink. “The entire team is awfully proud that we have succeeded in committing a European multinational who will enable us to develop further in the coming years.

“Moreover, we find it very important that Argos wholeheartedly underwrites our team’s core values; Team spirit, Inspiration, Integrity, Improvement and Innovation.”

As regards the integrity aspect, Spekenbrink emphasized that the team wants to achieve things in a clean way. “Our team is working on a process…supporting riders in all kind of areas,” he said. “But in that philosophy there is no place for doping. If a rider uses it, there is no place for him on our team.”

This was echoed by the new sponsors, which said that they regarded themselves as ‘a fair player in the business,’ and that they expect the same from the team.

Explaining the fit between squad and backer:

On the surface level, an oil company backing a sport based upon a machine with no engine seems a curious fit, but there is a logic to the association. While the Argos North Sea Group is primarily known for oil and gas products, it has a goal to become increasingly involved with renewable and sustainable energy products such as biofuels.

Backing a top level cycling team will give it publicity and brand exposure, but will also associate it with a sport practiced by huge numbers of health and environment-conscious people across Europe and elsewhere.

Team Argos ShimanoThe company is the largest independent player in the Western European mineral oil and energy market, and has an annual turnover in excess of €11 billion. It is most active in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, France and Switzerland, all companies with a strong awareness of professional racing. Further afield, the company is active in Brazil, Singapore and China.

The Tour of Beijing should help generate publicity in the Asian region, while there are rumours that there could be a WorldTour event in South America in the near future.

Argos company founder and CEO of the Argos North Sea Group Peter Goedvolk spoke about the fit between his company and the sport. “We are all working hard to transform from an oil company into an all-round energy provider. For this, we are thinking far beyond oil products,” he said.

“In the near future, we also want to provide electricity and gas to European households. Especially in those countries where Argos is or wants to be active, cycling is an incredibly popular sport. Therefore, I am convinced that sponsoring this talented and ambitious cycling team is the best way to draw European consumers’ attention to the Argos brand and thereby realize our growth ambitions better and quicker.”

As the director of the company’s branded sales and marketing in Europe, his colleague Jan Dirks sees similarities between the backer and Spekenbrink’s squad. He said that both had a lot in common and that this was a factor in the decision to come on board.

“Both the team and us are relatively new kids on the block, operating in a mature environment. We both are very ambitious, we want to be leading in Europe by challenging established competitors with innovative concepts. And we both have the courage to stand out from the crowd.”

Riders such as Marcel Kittel wore the new kit in today’s presentation. He and his team-mates will wear it for the first time in competition in Sunday’s Ronde Van Vlaanderen. John Degenkolb, who was fifth in Milan-Sanremo, is regarded as a rider who could perform very strongly there.

The team has clocked up five wins thus far this season. Kittel took stage two of this week’s Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde, two stages in the Tour of Oman and one in the Etoile de Besseges, while Gretsch was best in the prologue of the Vuelta a Andalucia.

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