Portable power tools manufacturer Skil Europe B.V. and the leading cycle component manufacturer Shimano Inc. will continue to be the main sponsors of the Skil-Shimano Professional Continental team through the 2008 season. The team made its debut in the international professional cycling peloton in 2006.
Skil has also expressed its intention to continue its links with the team after 2008. The increased commitment of both main sponsors is underlined by their involvement in renewing the structure of the team, making it ready for the future in organizational terms.
From 2008, the team will operate under a new and transparent business structure. This will provide the basis for achieving the strategic goals of the team (further internationalization of activities, talent development and strict observation of ethical principles), through which the team and its sponsors intend to make a positive contribution to the future of cycle racing. The team announced that Iwan Spekenbrink will step-up to take the lead role as Managing Director starting in 2008.
After decades in cycle racing as manager and team leader, Arend Scheppink decided a number of years ago to gradually phase-out his activities in the team to spend more time with his family, as well as on travelling and hobbies. In view of the new organizational structure, Scheppink has stated his willingness to continue his involvement with the Skil-Shimano team in 2008. He will support the team management as member of a supervisory and advisory board that also consists of Gerhard Kobesen, president of Skil Europe B.V., and Marc van Rooy, managing director of Shimano Europe Holding B.V.
The team's sporting policy will continue to focus in the coming seasons on investing in cycling talent and strengthening its international positioning, while at the same time observing the strictest ethical principles. The team will consist of a mix of talent and experience, presenting itself in Europe as an international team but with specific attention for further development of its activities in France. Completing the team in Europe will be a number of promising Chinese and Japanese riders. Rudie Kemna, Piet Hoekstra and Hisafumi Imanishi will again be the directeur sportifs.
The team stated that this extended commitment represents "the continuation of an excellent and ambitious strategy," and it has expressed its "fullest confidence in the personnel who will be involved in its implementation."