Is Geox considering pulling out as major sponsor of the Geox-TMC team?
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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Is Geox considering pulling out as major sponsor of the Geox-TMC team?

by Jered Gruber at 7:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
La Gazzetta dello Sport says Geox considering stepping down following ProTeam snub

La Gazzetta dello Sport ushered in a scary new era of the sponsorship of the new Geox-TMC team today with the headline - 'Hello and Goodbye to the world of cycling?'

The Treviso-based footwear giant, Geox, has been involved in cycling sponsorship for a while as a smaller sponsor on the Lampre jersey in recent years, but for 2011, looked to step up its commitment and decided to put its money with Mauro Gianetti.

The star signings of Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov followed - giving the team a Grand Tour triple crown within the squad - and hopefully, enough to secure ProTeam status. Unfortunately, the top flight notation did not follow, and now, the team is left on the Professional Continental level with no guarantees of admittance into the sport's biggest races.

La Gazzetta indicates that the agreement between Geox and Gianetti was based on ProTeam status, something that Gianetti no doubt promised, and something that Geox expected. Not receiving the coveted ProTeam status has apparently made things less than hospitable between manager and sponsor.

The team is currently meeting for the first time in Spain, and the new question posed by La Gazzetta will without question be unsettling for the new signings to the promising outfit.

The loss of Geox as the title sponsor wouldn't be cataclysmic, as TMC still remains, but it would leave a large hole in the team's budget, and with two riders, Denis Menchov and Carlos Sastre, likely responsible for a large chunk of the budget, the big questions begin.

The pink paper mentions that Carlos Sastre might be amenable to remaining with the team if Geox were to leave, but two-time Vuelta and one-time Giro winner, Denis Menchov, would likely not be ok with the possible new development. A start at the Tour de France will no doubt be a requirement for Menchov following his best ever finish at the Grand Boucle in 3rd last year. Considering that Contador's chances of starting next year's Tour de France are looking slim at best, Menchov no doubt sees a monster window of opportunity to win the biggest race in all of cycling.

La Gazzetta's eyebrow raising report from today would seem to go hand in hand with the comments of Gianetti in recent weeks concerning the team's non-selection for ProTeam status.

Gianetti was appalled at the team being overlooked and recently said to Biciciclismo, "What do we need to do to be at the top level? I do not understand it. If cycling takes this path, it gets what it deserves…I don't understand how the classification can penalize a team like ours. We have four victories in Grand Tours: the Tour with Sastre, and the Giro and two Vueltas with Menchov."

At the time, just over a week ago, Gianetti was apparently not too concerned about Geox, as he had spoken with them: "Geox gave us their confidence in the project and Carlos called us to show his unconditional support. Tomorrow [last week], I will go to have coffee with Menchov."



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