Oakley to sponsor Tour de France after deal is struck
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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Oakley to sponsor Tour de France after deal is struck

by Shane Stokes at 9:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tech News
Former Armstrong backer reaches agreement with race

OakleyHaving ended its long sponsorship of Lance Armstrong after the UCI agreed that he was guilty of doping for much of his career, eyewear giant Oakley has said that it will channel sponsorship in another direction; the Tour de France.

According to Bloomberg, the company’s CEO Colin Baden confirmed the sponsorship deal, although he wouldn’t be drawn on details.

“I would like to see that the sport be what it once was,” he said, talking about cycling recovering from scandals. “It’s unfortunate what we’ve all experienced. It would be really nice to get back to the place where it’s admired, respected and understood.”

Oakley has a long history in the sport, backing Greg LeMond, Andy Hampsten and several other competitors in the mid eighties and then being used by more riders and teams. It worked with Armstrong prior to his cancer diagnosis, and paid for his treatment via an insurance policy the company had taken out for its employees.

Oakley has been closely allied to Armstrong, but not always in a positive light. One of its representatives Stephanie McIlvain was recorded as confirming a 1996 hospital admission by Armstrong that he had used banned products, but later denied this under oath during the SCA Promotions case. She continued to work for several years afterwards as the company's official liaison with Armstrong.

Oakley was the last of his sponsors to end its association with the Texan, saying that it wouldn’t do so until such time as the UCI ruled on the issue.

The company now wants to move on, and has decided to do so by backing the Tour itself. According to Oakley spokeswoman Suzi Lemer, the sponsorship deal had developed over past twelve months. It is not clear how long the initial commitment is for.



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