Giant may become headline sponsor says Knebel
While news that Rabobank will end its sponsorship of its teams at the end of 2012, the Dutch management has said discussions are taking place with a number of sponsors to ensure the teams are well supported for the coming season. Existing bike sponsor Giant could increase their financial commitment, replacing the position of Rabobank on the team jersey according to Het Laatste Nieuws. Several technical sponsors, including Shimano, have also confirmed their backing for the team.
The news that Rabobank would be stopping the sponsorship of its professional teams at the end of 2012 came as a shock to not only the public but also some of its contracted riders including Robert Gesink and Mark Renshaw. The management company that runs the Rabobank-sponsored teams has stated that while they do not have the Dutch bank has a primary sponsor, the teams will continue in 2013.
"The important thing for us now is to build a team that satisfies the UCI, so we can apply for a license," said team director Harold Knebel to Het Laatste Nieuws.
Giant has recently been linked as a possible sponsor and may increase its current sponsorship in the future.
"There are three options: either they [Giant] continue to supply bicycles, they become a bigger sponsor or they are the main sponsor. It is possible that for 2013 we have another sponsor. We hope to have clarity soon," said Knebel.
Any increase in investment would be in addition to the earlier report that Giant will become the official apparel sponsor in 2013 for the men’s and women’s professional road, cyclo-cross and Rabobank-Giant Off-Road teams.
"Over the last four years Giant has developed cutting-edge bicycles for our riders to win at the world’s most important races," said Knebel on Giant Bicycles. "We’re excited to extend the relationship to include apparel as well as bikes."