Geox continues as head sponsor
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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Geox continues as head sponsor

by Samuel Morrison at 5:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Mauro Gianetti keeps general manager post

Italian footwear company Geox will remain in cycling as a title sponsor despite its team missing a first division licence. The team confirmed to Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport its intentions to race in all three Grand Tours this year with captains Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov.

In August, Geox agreed to take over the sponsorship of Mauro Gianetti's Footon-Servetto for the following five years, 2011 to 2015. Its future in the sport, however, looked uncertain following some bad news by the UCI. The UCI announced the 18 teams that will form the first division on November 2, Geox was not listed. Gianetti's team had lost its place in the first division after six years.

The UCI awarded the ProTeam licences based on sporting, ethical, financial and administrative criteria.

Gianetti has held the Spanish licence since 2005 with teams Saunier Duval, Fuji and Footon-Servetto. However, 2008 was a bad year. His Saunier Duval team helped introduce cycling to CERA, the third generation of EPO, via the positives of Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli at the Tour de France. They took three stages between them at that year's race, but French police escorted them from the race after anti-doping testers announced they had doped.

Now, without a ProTeam licence, Geox-TMC will race next year as a second division team and aim for wild card invitations to the three Grand Tours.

"We want to race the best races on the calendar," said Sports Director Joxean Fernández Matxin in November. "Sastre, for example, plans to compete in all three Grand Tours once again and Menchov in two of them: either Giro and Tour or Tour and Vuelta."

Sastre's and Menchov's schedules, as well as the team kit, will be officially presented during the team's training camp in Vilaseca, Spain. The camp starts Saturday.

Sastre will begin his season March 4 at the Tour of Murcia. He and Menchov will both need to show well in the races organised by the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France organisers, like Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice.

Gianetti will clarify their plans at the presentation. La Gazzetta dello Sport confirmed that he remains the general manager despite rumours of Geox taking over the team's management.


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