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Bike company Specialized may move to fill the gap left by Columbia after the company withdrew their sponsorship of Bob Stapleton's HTC team.
According to the Danish website Feltet.dk the US-based bike manufacturer will not only supply the bikes to the California team, but will provide more money than previous supplier Scott.
Team HTC-Columbia could not be reached for comment.
The team had been riding Scott bikes, but Scott will be the new material sponsor for the Australian Pegasus team. Specialized provided material for the Astana and Saxo Bank teams in 2010.
Only this week was it confirmed that Columbia Sportswear would not renew its sponsorship of the team when its contract expires the end of this year. The first hint came when the International Cycling Union announced that “HTC-Highroad” had applied for a further ProTeam licence in 2011. Highroad is the name of the operating company.
Team owner Bob Stapleton is apparently in talks with several companies who may replace Columbia, while HTC could also increase their backing and become the sole major sponsor of the team.
Mark Cavendish has confirmed he will see out the last year of his contract with the team in 2011 but Amgen Tour of California winner Michael Rogers has revealed he will leave. HTC-Highroad is expected to have a roster of 25 riders in 2011, the minimum allowed in the ProTour.