Rapha Condor will be known as Rapha Condor Sharp in the coming season. The British Continental team announced Tuesday that the electronics manufacturer has signed on as a name sponsor for 2010.
A Japanese company, Sharp produces a range of electronic devices and appliances. It employs nearly 60,000 people worldwide.
The relationship between Rapha Condor and Sharp first began working together late this season, at the Tours of Ireland and Britain. In addition to their sponsorship of the team during the 2010 season, the squad will in turn continue to provide exposure for Sharp's prostate cancer charity.
Sharp UK Managing Director Paul Molyneux said, "Our partnership with Rapha Condor marks a turning point for Sharp as a brand in the UK and we are thrilled to be supporting the huge potential growth of British professional cycling. On behalf of Sharp, I'd like to wish the team the best of luck in achieving its goals for 2010 and beyond - we'll be right behind you."
Grant Young, managing director of one of the team's other sponsors, Condor Cycles, noted that "With the additional support offered by Sharp we take another big step along the road to our ultimate goal of putting this team on the world stage.”
The third name sponsor is Rapha, which produces cycling clothing and accessories. "Our commitment to the sport and particularly that of Condor who have stuck with road cycling through the really tough times has outlasted many others and now we're starting to recoup that investment as other brands want to be a part of what we've built. It's great to have Sharp on board."
The new sponsor will make a big difference in more than the team's name, though. The small team had some major wins last season, including the national road title and the overall title in the FDB Insurance Ras. Team manager John Herety now has his eye on a strong performance at next year's Tour of Britain.
"That is the area where I want us to get better this year and with the investment from Sharp we have the riders and the programme to deliver them to that objective in peak form,” he said, “so long as we get an invite of course!"
Sharp has been involved with major sponsorship of British sporting teams in the past. The company sponsored Manchester United's Premier League football club from 1982 to 2000.