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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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The Vacansoleil team
Dutch team hunting for second sponsor, Grand Tour starts
Vacansoleil is looking forward to securing regular participation in cycling's Grand Tours, as they prepare to extend their contract with their title sponsor beyond 2011. Management at the Dutch Pro Continental team have also commenced a search for a co-sponsor to help secure the team's future.
Camping holiday company Vacansoleil signed-on as the team's title sponsor at the start of 2009, and increased their financial commitment to the team at the end of last season. The current contract is due to expire at the end of next year, but Vacansoleil press officer Frank Kwanten told Cyclingnews the team can reach an early agreement to extend the partnership.
"At the team presentation in January Vacansoleil CEO Wim Backers told the media there he was looking forward to a sponsorship of six to seven years, so that means it's three to four year's we're looking at extending," said Kwanten on Tuesday.
"We haven't yet confirmed an extension with Vacansoleil, but the intention is there."
Vacansoleil had hoped to secure an invitation to the 2010 Tour de France, but despite a strong start to this season the team were overlooked by race organiser Amaury Sports Organisation. Kwanten said the team has commenced a search for a second sponsor, as they target regular participation in cycling's major events.
"We're looking at securing a second partner to make sure that the team continues," he said. "We're looking forward; hopefully we can keep our good results going and make our way into the big tours."
Last year, the team signed French brothers Brice and Romain Feillu as part of its ultimately unsuccessful attempt to secure a Tour invite. Kwanten indicated that if the current sponsorship re-negotiations prove successful, the team may be in a position to recruit a general classification contender to help boost its chances even further.
"If you can get a big name rider like Cervélo did with Carlos Sastre, or BMC with Cadel Evans, that makes you more attractive to Grand Tour organisers," he said. "If we can secure a big sponsor that will certainly help to attract a big name."