Swiss company Prodir announced it will take a "decreased" role in the sponsorship of Mario Gianetti's team, Saunier Duval-Prodir, starting with 2008. The manufacturer of pens joined with Gianetti as a sponsor in 2004 and its commitment runs through 2009.
"After four years of sponsoring in the professional cycling (investment that provided very good results and that guaranteed the expected 'return of image') it is now time for Prodir to make some strategic changes based on our needs dictated by the market in which we operate," read a Prodir press release. "Consequently, our role within the Saunier Duval–Prodir Team will decrease starting from 2008. This decision has been taken in mutual agreement by Prodir and Mauro Gianetti and it does not implicate any unilateral breaking of the contract."
Prodir produces pens to be used as marketing tools by its customers. It became involved in the sport in late 2003 when Gianetti was building a team for the following season. Gianetti wanted a Swiss company to join forces with his Spain-based Saunier Duval sponsor, and found the match in his home region of Ticino.
Prodir noted that the recent doping issues within the sport did not bring about its decision. "We also want to clarify that the recent doping scandals, that obviously did not have any positive effect on cycling, did not have any influence in the decision made by Prodir to reduce the sponsorship... Or better, we recognize Mr. Gianetti's efforts and determination of clarity."
It is not known what changes will come from Prodir's decreased involvement.