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Title sponsor affirms long-term commitment to pro cycling
As the rumour mill regarding the fate of Peter Sagan and the Cannondale team for 2015 and beyond has been a hot topic in recent weeks, with the Slovakian champion linked to Tinkoff-Saxo as well as the burgeoning Fernando Alonso project, the global general manager of Cannondale, Bob Burbank, addressed the issue of the bicycle manufacturer's place in professional cycling, insisting the Italy-based WorldTour squad "is solid and our future in pro cycling as well."
"Sometimes rumours become news without any foundation, and we're little surprised too to see so many links to our team," said Burbank. "We don't have, and we don't want, to comment. The strategy and the vision we have for the team is clear in our mind. All these voices don't afflict our work and our relation with the team.
"Cannondale has been a sponsor of Pro Tour teams for 17 years, from 1997 with Saeco through today. We are committed to pro cycling for the long-term. Even if now we're focused on to take greatest results, everything we do we look at long term, and we're also looking at 2015 and beyond. These plans are inline with our long-term program and investment in the sport."
Burbank spoke about Cannondale's recent role as sole title sponsor of a WorldTour squad.
"In 2013, our first season as Cannondale Pro Cycling, we had incredible success. In 2014 we decided to take a bigger role in the team and acquired Brixia Sport because we strong believe in this project. Of course, we're always looking for like-minded partners that share the same values and goals for the team and the sport. The partnership with Sojasun is a great example. We will only partner with brands that will help to grow the sport of cycling and shares our passion."
Regarding the team's star rider Peter Sagan, whose contract is up for renewal at the end of 2014, Burbank spoke of ongoing negotiations and the team's trust in Sagan that the attention devoted to his future wouldn't have an effect on his racing, particularly with the Classics soon to start.
"When Peter started racing on Cannondale bicycles back in 2010, we couldn't have imagined that he would embrace the Cannondale spirit and passion and bring it to life on and off the bike with his finish line salutes, green wigs, and the viral videos of Peter being Peter," said Burbank.
"We have a very good relationship with Peter and he is a true professional. When we have spoken with him directly we have found him focused on the goals of the team. We know he will give 100% to training and winning, and he knows we will support him 100% so that he can be successful. From our side, we're working to keep Peter with us. Negotiations are an on-going process. We have been, and will continue, to speak with his manager Giovanni Lombardi about the future, but right now we just want to win."