Bike manufacturer saves the team after principal sponsor withdraws
The Argos-Shimano team will become GiantShimano in 2014 according to a report in the Telegraaf newspaper in the Netherlands.
Giant, however, is not the big title sponsor that was announced in October and was due to take the title sponsorship for three years. It withdrew after the UCI registration deadline had passed, leaving team manager Iwan Spekenbrink without a title sponsor for 2014. The team's new bike supplier Giant has apparently agreed to step up and become a title sponsor of the Dutch outfit but for one year only, meaning Spekenbrink must hunt for a new sponsor for 2015.
Contacted by Cyclingnews, a team representative would only say: "We will present our new team and sponsor next Monday."
Argos, a chain of gas stations, said at the 2013 team presentation that it was willing to sponsor the successful men's and women's team that includes sprinters Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb for another year, with an option for 2015. However Argos began talks to be bought out by Russian investment fund Sistema and the cycling team sponsorship was put in doubt. In October Argos terminated the agreement for 2014.
According to Telegraaf, an American charity institution then contacted Spekenbrink and within a week a three-year contract was signed. Important riders like Kittel, and the riders in his sprint train, signed new multiple years contracts with the team as the team's future seemed secure.
“Very recently, a company expressed interest in taking over the main sponsorship. The new sponsor is a good fit with our ambitious team goals,” said Spekenbrink in a press release in October. "We are also grateful to our new sponsor for expressing such confidence in our organization, athletes and staff and in the vision for top sports and pro cycling upon which our organization is based."
Details of why the sponsorship fell through have yet to emerge. The GiantShimano team will be launched next Monday at an official team presentation. The bike manufacturer has signed a multiple year deal to supply the team's bikes. It will now step up as title sponsor for 2014. The Taiwanese bike manufacturer was also named early 2013 when Rabobank lost its sponsor but the company only wanted to supply the team's bikes. The former Rabobank team rode under the Blanco banner until Belkin signed a deal to become title sponsor.