Belgacom and Jabra on board as sponsors of Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project?
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Belgacom and Jabra on board as sponsors of Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project?

by Shane Stokes at 9:27 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Luxembourg newspaper claims two companies are amongst backers of the new team

Andy SchleckThere has been a long silence about the backing behind the new Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project that will aim for Tour de France victory next season, with only Mercedes and Trek being confirmed as being involved. The two are equipment suppliers, though, and so the big money behind the setup is still to be revealed.

Some have suggested that it there is one backer, an entrepreneur, who will put his cash to the team in the expectation of a future return. That’s been backed up by Andy Schleck, who recently said as much to the Basque Deia newspaper.

“The person who has put everything together is an entrepreneur from Luxembourg,” he explained. “He is the big boss. The team was created in a similar way as they did a few years ago with Slipstream or High Road.

However Luxembourg newspaper Le Quotidien believes that a large chunk of the budget will be coming from two large companies. One is Belgacom, the Belgian telecommunications giant, which is active in the Netherlands via the company Scarlet and in Luxembourg with Tango. Le Quotidien suggests that the deal is yet to be finalised, but also appears to believe it will be completed and the company will be one of the big backers.

The other, it says, is Jabra. The wireless headset manufacturer was originally rumoured to be a replacement sponsor when Saxo Bank was initially pulling out of backing Bjarne Riis’ team. Jabra is owned by the Danish company GN Netcom.

Riis said that he had found a backer around the time of the Tour de France, but the identity of this company was never revealed. When Riis managed to secure the services of Alberto Contador shortly afterwards, Saxo Bank indicated that it had changed its mind and wanted to remain involved.

On August third, while confirming that the Spaniard would lead the team in 2011, the team indicated that the hitherto-planned new backer had agreed to stand aside “in order for the team's new plans to materialize.”

Le Quotidien doesn’t make the link between Jabra/GN Netcom and the Riis deal, but it would be ironic if the company that Riis decided not to go with had indeed opted to back the new Luxembourg team. If that is the case, it will be joining the Schleck brothers, Jakob Fuglsang, Dominic Klemme, Jens Voigt, Stuart O’Grady and Anders Lund in moving from one team to the other. World champion Fabian Cancellara is also rumoured to be making the switch, although that is yet to be confirmed.

If Le Quotidien is correct in its reporting of the two new backers, it is likely that they will be confirmed at the same time as Cancellara, thus maximising the media exposure.

A total of 20 riders have been confirmed thus far. Aside from Andy and Frank Schleck, Fuglsang, Klemme, Voigt, O’Grady and Lund, the others are Daniele Bennati, Will Clarke, Stefan Denifl, Brice Feillu, Linus Gerdemann, Maxime Monfort, Giacomo Nizzolo, Bruno Pires, Davide Viganò, Fabian Wegmann, Wouter Weylandt, Tom Stamsnijder and Martin Mortensen.

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