Suggestions Stapleton has secured future of HTC Highroad team
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Suggestions Stapleton has secured future of HTC Highroad team

by VeloNation Press at 10:28 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Reports that existing sponsor will stay on board

Bob StapletonIt is widely anticipated that tomorrow’s rest day will see an announcement from HTC Highroad in relation to its hunt for a sponsor for 2012 and beyond. Bob Stapleton indicated before the race that he had set a deadline of that date. On Friday he told reporters that he was still considering various options, including possible mergers with other teams, but Belgian press reports – with Het Nieuwsblad being cited as one source - are suggesting today that something may now have been secured.

If those indications are correct, it would see HTC agreeing to stay on board and extending its current agreement.

Speaking before yesterday’s start, Stapleton told AFP that keeping the existing sponsor was the number one choice. “We're still talking with HTC,” he confirmed. “Our top focus is for them to recognise the value they have in continuing to sponsor this team. We estimate they've had 400 million euros of measured media value during the deal.

"We have to try and translate that into a long-term commitment."

In terms of victories, the team is the most successful in cycling. It has extremely strong men’s and women’s squads, and has taken three stage wins thus far in the Tour with Mark Cavendish. The Manxman has won 18 stages in all during his career, all of them with his current team. He is however thought likely to leave at the end of the current season, most likely for Sky Procycling.

On Friday Stapleton said other than renewing the deal with HTC, he is also open to get a completely different sponsor on board. Some talks have taken place, although it is uncertain how advanced they are. A third option is to merge with existing setups.

“I've been contacted by a number of teams and it's something we would consider,” he told AFP at yesterday’s start.

“You have to remember, I come from the world of business so this is something that happens all the time.” He said that approximately half a dozen teams had approached him, but that any possible partner would have to be strong enough.

“It would have to have a lot of merit. We don't want to be merging with a weak sister,” he said.

A fourth possibility is that the team simply stops. It seems almost inconceivable that a team as strong as Stapleton’s should get to that point; tomorrow may well show if that or a better outcome is on the cards.

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