Report: Giant steps in to save Argos-Shimano team after new sponsor withdraws
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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Report: Giant steps in to save Argos-Shimano team after new sponsor withdraws

by VeloNation Press at 4:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Financial turmoil for squad of quadruple Tour de France stage winner Kittel

Marcel KittelAlthough the Argos Shimano team announced at the end of October that it had agreed a new three year deal with an un-named company and that the future was secure for the team as a result, it has been reported today that agreement collapsed and that Giant will step in to keep the squad afloat in 2014.

Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf has stated that the Taiwanese bike manufacturer has had to save the team and that this will be made official next Monday.

The news contrasts with the picture painted on October 30th when the team’s general manager Iwan Spekenbrink sounded upbeat about the agreement put in place.

“Very recently, a company expressed interest in taking over the main sponsorship. The new sponsor is a good fit with our ambitious team goals,” he stated then.

“We would like to thank Argos for supporting the team and enabling it to reach its current level, and for giving us the space to further develop our project with our new major partner.

“We are also grateful to our new sponsor for expressing such confidence in our organization, athletes and staff and in the vision for top sports and pro cycling upon which our organization is based.

“We will soon announce our look and feel, jersey, and ambitions for next year, together with our new partner.”

According to De Telegraaf, the unnamed company – said to be an American charitable organisation – unexpectedly withdrew after the UCI deadline had passed.

It is the second blow for the team. On March 30th 2012 Spekenbrink announced that oil company Argos was committed to a multi-year deal. “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,” he stated then. In that light, the news that Argos would not continue was unexpected.

Giant came on board for 2014 as a bike supplier, moving across from the Belkin pro cycling team and replacing 2013 sponsor Felt. The collapse of the sponsorship agreement with the American company led to it stepping up its commitment to keep the team going, but Spekenbrink now needs to find a replacement sponsor for 2015 as the increased backing is just for one season.

Shimano is expected to remain as co-sponsor.

The team’s difficulties underline the fragile economic model in cycling and are particularly striking as the team had a highly successful Tour de France. Marcel Kittel won four stages at the Tour de France and is expected to have another strong season in 2014. Ditto for his team-mates, who would likely bring strong exposure to sponsors.

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