Despite ending its title sponsorship of Stéphane Heulot’s Professional Continental team, French soya food producer Sojasun looks set to remain in the peloton in 2014 as an important sponsor of the Cannondale WorldTour team.
According to a report on the L’Equipe website, a final agreement could be reached this week. As part of the agreement, Heulot will join Cannondale as a team manager, along with rider Jean-Marc Marino and several other members of staff. L’Equipe suggests that the sponsorship could also lead to the creation of a development team, which may become obligatory for every WorldTour team in 2015.
Now directly owned by the Cannondale company but managed by Italian Roberto Amadio, the team has been searching for a second sponsor after talks with Oleg Tinkov fell through at the end of the season. The Cannondale team currently has 27 riders under contract and so could increase its roster thanks to the extra funding provided by Sojasun. This would allow it to bolster the squad build around Peter Sagan, Ivan Basso, Moreno Moser and Elia Viviani.
When contacted by Cyclingnews, the team refused to comment on the report that Sojasun could come on board as a title sponsor but confirmed it is actively looking for further sponsorship for 2014 and beyond.
Cannondale is hoping to convince Sagan to stay with the team in 2015. Sagan’s contract ends in 2014 and the Slovakian Classics rider and sprinter is already being courted by Fernando Alonso and several other major teams.
The team is currently holding a training camp in Tuscany, with some riders also working on the track in Brescia to improve their time trial positions.