Specialized to team up with HTC in 2011?
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Specialized to team up with HTC in 2011?

by Jered Gruber at 6:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Will Mark Cavendish be aboard a Specialized bike as he seeks his first Green Jersey next season?

The news of Alberto Contador's adverse analytical finding from the Tour de France for clenbuterol has shaken the cycling world, from the riders, to the media, the public, the governing organizations, all the way to the sponsors. One company that has to be particularly worried about the outcome of the Contador case is his personal sponsor, Specialized.

Specialized is not only Contador's personal sponsor, but the team sponsor of Bjarne Riis's 2011 SunGard/Saxo Bank squad, and with the mass exodus out of the team heading into next season, all eyes were to be on Alberto Contador in the coming year.

In 2010, Specialized could lay claim to a record not often seen amongst bike sponsors: 1st and 2nd on the overall podium at the Tour de France, along with hordes of other accolades at the Grand Boucle, all topped nicely with wins at both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. The exit of Fabian Cancellara, the Schlecks, and numerous others from this year's Saxo Bank team looked to take away a chunk of the potential for success in 2011, but the main man was still there: Contador.

Now, Contador's presence is suddenly in doubt, and the powerful Morgan Hill, California based company has only one team at the top level after Astana and Specialized parted ways: not exactly ideal.

Recent news reported by feltet.dk and other sources suggests that Specialized is about to pull off another significant team signing though, that of High Road Sports, the team that will likely be known as HTC-High Road in 2011. High Road and 2010 bike sponsor, Scott, recently parted ways, as Scott signed a deal with Australian hopeful, Pegasus Sports.

At the moment, the news has not been confirmed, by either Specialized or High Road Sports, but feltet.dk claims that the deal is in place.

The news of Columbia's withdrawal from Bob Stapleton's team yesterday along with its sponsorship dollars, now seems to be offset by Specialized, who, again according to feltet, will also bring along more sponsorship dollars than Scott to the extremely successful, California-based team.

While the question of Contador still resonates loudly, if this deal is in fact confirmed, Specialized can be assured of many victories and a whole lot of publicity courtesy of one, Mark Cavendish, along with a star-studded cast around the sprinter par excellence.


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