Milram team searching hard for new backer
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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Milram team searching hard for new backer

by Conal Andrews at 3:22 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Less than a year. That’s how long the Milram team has to try to attract a new sponsor and to guarantee its continued future in the sport. The German team was recently granted a one year extension to its ProTour contract, the duration determined by the amount of time its title sponsorship will remain.

Team manager Gerry van Gerwen is looking hard for a new backer. Ideally he would like the sponsor to come from the same country as Milram’s Nordmilch AG does, but knows that the most important factor is to get something on board.

“Our priority lies in Germany," he told German television channel ARD recently, then explaining that he didn’t want to speak too much about what stage the search was in. He referred to Gerolsteiner, a team which said last year that it was speaking to several but which ultimately folded. “They said they were in talks but ultimately it didn’t happen,” he explained, perhaps being wary about tempting fate.

Gerwen is determined to push hard to keep the team going. "We have not made a huge investment and invested family capital to stop again two years later."

While the sponsor hunt is foremost on his mind, his team’s World Ranking is also a concern. The squad had a disappointing season and took just eight wins; Gerald Ciolek’s Vuelta a España stage victory was the highlight, while Niki Terpstra’s Dauphine and Ster Elektrotoer stage wins were big boosts.

Fabian Wegman, Linus Gerdemann and Peter Velits took HC victories in the Eschborn – Frankfurt City Loop, Bayern Rundfarht and the GP Kanton Aargau – Gippingen respectively, while Ciolek (Trofeo Calvia) and Robert Forster (stage seven, Presidential Tour of Turkey) nabbed two more top-step podium slots. But that was that, as far as victories went.

The sum total of those wins – plus, of course, the other placings, means that the team is currently ranked only 18th in the world. It has fewer points than the Professional Continent Teams Cervélo, Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli and Acqua & Sapone – Caffe Mokambo, although a good Giro di Lombardia could see it overtake the latter.

That is a crucial goal for the final big race of the season. While its ProTour status will get the team into that category of UCI events next year, automatic participation in many of the other top races (termed Historic Events) such as Paris-Nice, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Milan San Remo will go to whichever teams are ranked in the top seventeen at the end of the 2009 European season.

Overtaking Acqua & Sapone is not quite as important as finding a new sponsor but, with every event next year being a platform to sell the team to a new backer, nabbing that seventeenth slot could make the task quite a bit easier.

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