Mapei CEO Dr Giorgio Squinzi and General Manager of the 2010 UCI Road World Championships Michael Palmer today announced that the Italian construction chemical products company will sponsor this year's world titles to held in Geelong, Australia.
"I think the sponsorship of the world championships in Melbourne is a natural development of the Mapei presence in cycling," said Squinzi from the comany's headquarters in Milan, Italy.
"We started in 1993 with the creation of our Mapei team, which for eight years out of nine - 1993 until 2002 - was the number one professional cycling team in the world, thanks also to several Australian riders like Cadel [Evans] and Michael [Rogers]," he added, alluding to the presence of the two Australians who have won world titles and for whom September's event on home soil will be a major highlight.
The team reigned supreme during the 1990s and into last decade, boasting the likes of Paolo Bettini, Johan Museeuw, Oscar Freire and the late Franco Ballerini, accumulating Classics wins and world titles seemingly at will.
"We stopped in cycling at the end of 2002 but our heart remains very close to the sport and since Varese in 2003 until Mendrisio in 2009 we have been very proud to be the official sponsor of the world championship, which will happen in Melbourne this year," said Squinzi.
Mapei maintains a strong connection to Australian cycling, continuing its support of the national Under 23 outfit that is based in Varese and has produced the likes of current pro riders Cameron and Travis Meyer, Jack Bobridge, Simon Clarke, Matt Lloyd and Matt Goss.
Squinzi's also explained that his history with the sport runs deep and personal: "My father was a cyclist in the 1920s and '30s and I have so much passion for this sport - it is absolutely the most beautiful sport.
This [sponsorship] is to reaffirm our presence in cycling and passion for cycling; I am also an enthusiast of Australian cycling and their way of doing sport - it's really innovative and has the same values that you encounter all over the world."