The president of Banque Populaire-Caisses d’Epargne has announced that the French bank will terminate its sponsorship of the ProTour team at the end of 2010.
Speaking on French radio, the bank’s CEO Francois Perol said Caisse d’Epargne has decided to focus its sports sponsorship on the French Olympic team.
“There will be a Caisse d’Epargne team in the 2010 Tour de France, but the contract will end at the end of 2010," Perol told Radio-Classique according to the AFP news agency.
"We’ve become the French banking partner of the next two Olympics, so we’ll be supporting the French teams at Vancouver and in London in 2012. We’ll also support Annecy’s candidature to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. It’s a management decision and we think Olympic values best correspond with the values of the BPCE (Banque Populaire-Caisses d’Epargne).”
The Caisse d’Epargne team is registered in Spain and has been managed by Jose Miguel Echavarri and Eusebio Unzue since 2005.
The team is lead by 2009 Vuelta winner Alejandro Valverde and Paris-Nice winner Luis Leon Sanchez. New riders for 2010 include France’s Christophe Moreau and Colombian climbers Maurico Soler and Rigoberto Uran.
Valverde was banned from racing in Italy in 2009 after Italian police claimed they identified his blood DNA with a bag a blood found in the Operacion Puerto investigation. Valverde is awaiting a decision on his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the ban, and the UCI could extend his ban worldwide.
Perol did not comment on if Valverde’s position had influenced the bank’s decision to end the their sponsorship.