Vacansoleil team still searching for replacement sponsor for 2014
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Friday, June 21, 2013

Vacansoleil team still searching for replacement sponsor for 2014

by Shane Stokes at 6:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Riders encouraged to give the team more time, but also told they can make enquiries with other squads

Vacansoleil DCMTeam Blanco is expected to shortly announce its backing by the Belkin electronics company, unveiling new kit in time for the Tour de France, but fellow Dutch team Vacansoleil DCM remains in sponsor-search mode.

While the squad has backing for the remainder of 2013, both the Vacansoleil and the DCM companies have confirmed that they will not continue their sponsorship beyond the end of this season.

The team has been working hard to try to fill the gap, knowing that the squad will otherwise stop, but has not yet been successful.

“We are still available,” said spokesman Frank Kwanten to VeloNation yesterday. “There are companies that are still talking with the board of directors. There is always the possibility that something can happen as a result of the Tour.

“It is really easy during the Tour to show off a team – more people follow the sport of cycling then, so you are seen by more people. In the Netherlands I know that many, many people tuen in. Maybe one million people follow the Classics in the spring, bit two million follow the Tour. So its one hundred percent extra. As a result being visible in the Tour de France, doing a good race, can give ideas to more people.”

For a team in its position, having something in place sooner rather than later is preferable. It gives the riders and staff certainty, and helps minimise the chance that key riders will agree deals with other teams and thus be lost to the squad in 2014. It also enables the team to plan forward and to be able to make the acquisitions that it wants.

Ideally the team would have something in place before the Tour, but Kwanten believes this is unlikely at this point. “We are still talking [with prospective backers]. The decision making process is not always very clear. So you never know what could happen,” he stated. “That said, I think it is highly unlikely something will happen before the Tour starts.”

The aim is that the Tour selection – which was announced yesterday – will head to the race and perform strongly, thus enticing interested companies to get involved. However because of the current uncertainty, the team has told its riders to also keep other options in mind.

“We said to the riders ‘let’s make sure you do your homework, it is your career. We don’t want to interfere with that. But please look at the August 1st rules of the UCI, to not sign before then as you are not allowed to.’ Also, we are negotiating and talking to other parties so I think it is important for their careers that they try to wait and see if something comes up here.

“What we don’t want is to be a team to says to the riders at the end of August to go ahead then, that they must find another team, and that some of them end up missing out on a possibility.

“Our problem is to find the sponsor. The riders’ objective is to have a career, do good racing and be on a good team. It is not their problem, but it would be nice if they can wait with signing until the first of August, which is actually the UCI rule.”

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