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The start of the 2012 mountain bike season: World Cup #1 - Pietermaritzburg
Status of title sponsor RockyRoads uncertain
The status of the title sponsorship of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup seems uncertain only a month or two after the UCI announced the finalized 2013 RockyRoads UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano on November 1, 2012.
Title sponsor RockyRoads.net stopped publishing new content in English on its site in mid-November, shortly after the 2013 World Cup announcement. Content has since been posted in some other languages, but not all of the site's six languages, with the most recent update being in Polish on December 18.
Ride.ch reported on Wednesday that the site's top journalists were not getting paid as promised and have since ended their involvement with the site.
Over a year ago in an article from October of 2011, Ride.ch had also questioned whether the RockyRoads site had falsely claimed higher than actual website traffic - 221,000 visitors per day, and it considered whether the site had bought Facebook and Twitter subscribers.
RockyRoads made a splash into the mountain bike news world when it debuted, and owners soon signed the 2012 World Cup title sponsorship deal with the UCI. As a title sponsor, RockyRoads got top billing in the World Cup series naming, and its banners were seen all around the World Cup courses.
Unconfirmed rumors circulated during the 2012 season that RockyRoads was not making its full sponsorship payments to the UCI, but the company's title sponsorship naming rights continued at all major World Cup events through until the end of the season.
Cyclingnews asked the UCI the following questions: Is RockyRoads still the title sponsor for the 2013 UCI MTB World Cup?; If not, what, if any company, has taken over title sponsorship and will the 2013 World Cup goes on as planned even without RockyRoads?; Did RockyRoads fulfill its financial obligations as a sponsor for the 2012 UCI MTB World Cup?
The UCI declined to comment specifically regarding RockyRoads. Instead, UCI spokesperson Enrico Carpani said, "At this stage I can only say that negotiations are still ongoing."
The first World Cup of 2013 is scheduled to happen on May 18-19, 2013 in Albstadt, Germany.