The Lampre team and Ukrainian metallurgical company ISD have announced they will join forces in 2011 with ambitions to create a major ProTour team.
Lampre is currently the main sponsor along with Farnese Vini of the Italian ProTour team and ISD is the main sponsor of an Italian Professional Continental team that is captained by Giovanni Visconti. Geox is a key secondary sponsor of the Lampre team but has opted to have its own team in 2011.
That team will have new, so-far undisclosed backers in 2011, with ISD joining forces with Lampre and team manager Giuseppe Saronni to create an Italian-Ukraine squad. The two sponsors have agreed to work together for at least three years and ISD will continue to run a Continental development team that will act as a feeder squad to the ProTour team.
Lampre produces metal panels for white goods such as washing machines and so the agreement with the Ukraine metal producers could also lead to shared business interests in the future.
"Both I and the Galbusera family, the owners of the Lampre company and Presidents of the team, were very proud of the interest shown by ISD regarding our team," former world champion Saronni said in a statement.
"While respecting our current sponsors, we evaluated the project in detail, appreciating the passion and the ideas shown by ISD. We've now reached an agreement that will be finalised in the next few weeks, knowing well that we're building something important. The relationship between Lampre and ISD is about sport but could also be extended to the world of business."
The agreement is expected to strengthen the team for 2011. So far only Michele Scarponi has confirmed he will join the squad for 2011, while long-time leader Damiano Cunego has yet to decide if he will stay with Lampre or go elsewhere.
Veteran sprinter Alessandro Petacchi could be part of the team but is currently under investigation for doping in Italy. He will be question by Italian anti-doping investigators in Rome on Monday.