More evidence that Team Milram will become defunct?
As a raft of team sponsorships are announced for 2011, German bicycle manufacturer has switched its technical support to Russian ProTour outfit Katusha for the next three years.
After a recent meeting between Focus managing director Mathias Seidler and Team Katusha president Andrei Tchmil, the German company decided to continue its participation in the ProTour, albeit with a different squad.
Over the past two years Focus has been a technical partner of Team Milram, although it's well known that the German squad has encountered issues with finding an ongoing headline sponsor, with no company stepping into the void left by the withdrawal of dairy company Milram.
The withdrawal of Focus adds to speculation that the squad will not exist next season; with ProTour licence recipients to be announced soon, the possible cessation of the German team will be good news for the likes of Fly V Australia, Team Geox and BMC Racing, just three squads seeking a ProTour permit for 2011.
Focus simply wants to be involved in the highest echelon of the sport, and it believes Katusha offers that opportunity. "Our aim is a long-term partnership which will allow us to further broaden our excellent experiences in the ProTour over the last two years internationally," said Seidler.
While Belgian company Ridley has sponsored Katusha since its advent as a ProTour team, Focus considers this recent move as a coup for the German manufacturer, with the likes of Joaquin Rodriguez and Filippo Pozzato on board its machines for the next three years. "We are investing quite deliberately in a strong international team," said Focus marketing director Herwig Reus. "We hope to achieve great sporting success with this team and to prove beyond doubt what our bikes are capable of.
"Needless to say, these expectations go hand in hand with our aim to further develop our markets abroad and increase demand for our products."