Barloworld announced it will end its sponsorship of Claudio Corti's Professional Continental team at the end of 2009 following seven years of backing the squad. Corti said this week that he is looking for a new sponsor to replace Barloworld to continue for 2010.
"The cyclists know Barloworld is out and know that I am working to find a new sponsor to keep everyone working," Corti told Cyclingnews.
Barloworld decided to end is sponsorship after last year's Tour de France after its rider Moisés Dueñas tested positive for blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO). Despite the bad news, Corti and Barloworld agreed last autumn to continue working together through 2009.
Over its seven years with the team, Barloworld has grown from a South African squad to an international level outfit. It received wild card invitations to the 2007 and 2008 Tour de France. In its debut appearance it won a stage with South African Robert Hunter and the mountains classification with Colombian Mauricio Soler.
Corti said he is keeping calm despite a lack of a title sponsor for 2010. "I don't have the pressure of keeping riders like Mark Cavendish or Alberto Contador under contract," Corti said.
Italian bike manufacturer Bianchi told Cyclingnews that it would stay with Corti through 2010. It became a co-sponsor for 2009 and also supplies the team bikes.
Barloworld is a international management company based in Johannesburg, South Africa.