Basque company AMPO has agreed to sponsor ProTour squad Footon-Servetto through the 2010 season. Spanish newspaper Gara reports that AMPO have signed a one-year contract with the team - formerly known as Fuji-Servetto - that includes an option to extend the agreement for a further season.
The Basque engineering and manufacturing firm had supported Murcia-based Professional Continental squad Contentpolis-AMPO through the 2009 season, but now leave the embattled team to act as a supporting sponsor for Mauro Gianetti and Joxean Fernández Matxin ProTour outfit. AMPO join Cantabria Infinita and Fuji as Footon-Servetto's minor sponsors.
As part of AMPO's desire to see more Basque riders represented in the Footon line-up, Aitor Pérez Arrieta, 32, has joined Footon-Servetto from Contentpolis-AMPO. While former-Caisse d'Epargne rider Pérez will now return to the ProTour, his fellow Basques and 2009 teammates David Herrero, Mikel Gaztañaga and Joseba Aguirre face an uncertain future.
The announcement of AMPO's sponsorship deal with Footon is effectively a nail in the coffin of what was the Contentpolis-AMPO squad. After the withdrawal of Contentpolis as a sponsor, the team had hoped to maintain its Professional Continental status with support from the Murcian government and AMPO. However, despite their best efforts Gara reports that the team was left 400,000 Euros short of the funds required to satisfy the International Cycling Union's licence commission.
Pérez Arrieta has become Footon-Servetto's 23rd rider for the 2010 season. The team, which has undergone a major restructure since the end of this year's season, came together for a 4-day training camp in the Cantabrian village of Hoznayo in northern Spain earlier this month.