By James Huang
Jonathan Vaughters presented his 2008 Team Slipstream/Chipotle professional cycling team in the historic Boulder Theater in downtown Boulder, Colorado, amidst a frenetically positive atmosphere that belied the ominous cloud currently hovering over the sport. In addition to a mass infusion of star-studded talent both fresh and well-seasoned, the Director Sportif has also gained a new title sponsor for the team for 2008, the sports management firm H3O. The reinvigorated squad will now be officially known as Team Slipstream/Chipotle presented by H3O.
With the Discovery Channel team folding supposedly due in part to sponsorship difficulties, the addition of a major backer to Team Slipstream/Chipotle should not be taken lightly. That fact certainly wasn't lost on Vaughters, who was clearly appreciative of the unwavering support of the team's numerous supporters. "Cycling is always, and especially recently, a challenging environment to find sponsorship," he said. "All of this is only possible because of people who share the dream of having their name on a bicycle jersey. There's no way that this team has so many sponsors, so many supporters, so many people that just want to give us twenty bucks to put our sticker outside their mailbox... what makes us different is that we aren't just completely dependent on one big company. We're really a family of sponsors. You guys make this happen in a way that doesn't happen on any other team because each and every one is important to this team going forward."
While many current sponsors maintain a tenuous association with the sport, Slipstream's newest sponsor is refreshingly excited about what lies ahead. "As a new company, focused on the long-term representation of athletes, and the investment in sports properties in general, it's only fitting for us to choose to sponsor this fresh new face in American cycling," said H3O managing partner Scott Hirshom. "Like many sponsors in the sport, we've witnessed cycling go through a very tough period. Now, more than ever, we believe that cycling represents tremendous value to corporate sponsors. Especially with teams like Slipstream and others leading the way, the potential from our side has never been better. The qualities that attracted us to cycling from the beginning, the discipline, teamwork, preparation, and ability to work hard to achieve great results, are the same qualities that mark a successful company and the same qualities that drive the members of this team today... [I] feel very optimistic that this team will continue to show the strong character and represent the highest values to their sponsors, to their teams, and to the sport of cycling."
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