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US company said to be in discussions regarding Dutch team
Belkin International Inc. is said to be interested in taking over sponsorship of the Blanco Pro Cycling Team. The American consumer electronics manufacturer is now discussing the project “at the highest level,” according to the Dutch media.
Blanco is the former Rabobank team. The bank announced last fall that it was ending its name sponsorship. This year's budget is still being paid by the bank, and 18 riders are guaranteed through 2014. The team's UCI WorldTour licence runs through 2014, but a new sponsor is necessary to guarantee the team's survival in the future. Its yearly budget is said to be 15 million Euro.
The team had no comment on the matter. “We (have) never announce(d) with what companies or brands we are negotiating,” spokesman Leon Brouwer told Cyclingnews. He also said that there would not be announcement made this week.
Belkin's European headquarters are near the Schiphol airport, near Amsterdam, which is how the first contacts with the team came about, according to De Telegraaf. However, as the Dutch newspaper pointed out, a non-Dutch sponsor would bring about changes to the team, and it would need to be more of a global team.
Founded in a garage in southern California in 1983, Belkin has grown to be a privately held company with more than 12,00 employees in 21 countries. It describes its products as ranging from “wireless home networking and entertainment, to mobile accessories, energy management, and an extensive range of cables.”