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The organisers of the Giro d'Italia have announced a new sponsor for the race leader's pink jersey, with biscuit producer Balocco taking over from long-term sponsor Estathe' for 2013 and 2014.
Balocco has been the away strip sponsor of Juventus for the last two years but opted to invest in cycling after CEO Alberto Balocco spent a day on the race.
The maglia rosa was introduced in 1931 with the legendary Learco Guerra the first rider to ever wear the iconic jersey after winning the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia.
“The Giro is without a doubt one of the most iconic events in our country, and thanks to its international coverage, shows wonderful images of our Italy around the world. Our sponsorship of the maglia rosa is therefore a fantastic way of reaffirming our Italian pride and increasing our global profile.” Alberto Balocco told Gazzetta della Sport.
The Balocco logo will appear on the chest, sides and back of the pink jersey produced by Santini. Balocco has decided to invest in professional cycling despite the recent doping scandals and fear in Italy about the outcome of the Padua police investigation.
"There's always a risk in anything you do but were convinced that we've made the right choice. I've seen that the testing is severe and gives little chance to anyone who thinks of cheating," Alberto Balocco told Gazzetta della Sport.
"We've signed a two-year contract, with an option for a third year. We're not interested in a short-term sponsorship, we want people to remember our name."
The 2013 Giro d'Italia starts from Naples on May 4 and finishes in Brescia on May 26. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) won the 2012 Giro d'Italia and is likely to face 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) and new Astana team leader Vincenzo Nibali in next year's Giro d'Italia.