Talks continuing with replacement sponsors for Rabobank team
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Talks continuing with replacement sponsors for Rabobank team

by Shane Stokes at 12:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Giant will provide equipment and clothing rather than becoming top backer

Robert GesinkAlthough it was confirmed today that Giant will not take up the option of becoming title sponsor of the former Rabobank team, the squad continues to speak to several companies about filling that slot for the 2013 season and beyond.

“We are in talks with several parties,” team spokesman Richard Plugge told VeloNation today, thus confirming that the team has several avenues which could potentially lead to a new backing. However he emphasised that there would be no immediate decision in that regard. “It will take some time to get to a deal.”

On October 19th Rabobank announced that it was walking away after many years of supporting pro cycling. It pointed the finger at the USADA report into doping by Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team, saying that it was ‘no longer convinced that the international professional world of cycling can make this a clean and fair sport.’

This decision led to criticism from a range of people, including pro rider David Millar, plus other sponsors who said that they would remain in the sport and push for a better future.

Plugge told VeloNation on November 2nd that the if the team did not find a new backer, that Rabobank would be compelled to honour the agreements in place. “Dutch employment law has strict regulations about what happens when somebody is sacked,” he explained then. “You have to pay off the contracts, and so Rabobank guarantees that we can finish properly what was arranged.”

It meant that the team would be financed next year, while any riders with deals extending further would also have their salaries paid. However for the sake of long-term stability, Plugge said that the preferred option was to find a new backer who would start afresh.

“At present, there are a lot of people interested in finding out how much it would cost, what would be involved, how much they would get in terms of exposure. We’ll continue working in this area and see what happens,” he said then.

Giant was know to have been one of those, with Tom Davies, Sport Marketing Manager of Giant Global Marketing Team, telling VeloNation that the company was considering an even bigger input.

“Like the British breakfast that you and I are so fond of… the chicken is involved but the pig is committed!” the Welshman joked then. “Rabo is the chicken and we are the pig!

“We will continue, but need time to figure out what level of involvement makes sense for us, be it as we were about to be a bike and clothing supplier, to a more dominant co-sponsor or even main sponsor.”

Plugge has confirmed a report earlier today by that the company had decided on what its role would be. “We are close to a good deal with Giant,” he told VeloNation. “They will be our material and clothing sponsor next year. We are very happy with Giant and the fact that they will support us even longer.”

Rabobank’s women’s team will be supported by the bank until 2016, giving Marianne Vos and her fellow competitors a stable base to push for Olympic success.


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