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Stage 6 winner Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil)
Sponsor announces 1 million euro budget increase at Vuelta a España
Dutch Pro Continental team Vacansoleil will see its budget increased by one million euros in 2010. The announcement was made by the CEO of the team's sponsor Wim Backers as he visited the team at the Vuelta a España this week. He also indicated the company's intention to remain involved with the team in future seasons.
"In 2010, the budget will grow by one million to 5.5 million euros. And each year we add something extra, too," said Backers, according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. "It's amazing to see how the team has performed, not only here [at the Vuelta], but throughout the year."
With 13 victories this season Vacansoleil's debut season has been deemed a success by its main sponsor. Backers said that Vacansoleil, who facilitate camping holidays across Europe, was pleased with its decision to back the team this year, in spite of initial advice that had warned against the investment.
"When you see what a great atmosphere has been created in the team, I feel very emotionally involved. I notice also that tourists appreciate their efforts too. Of course, we had heard from various quarters that it is not smart to get into [sponsorship of] cycling, but I'm glad we did."
The security of the renewed investment will be welcome news for the team who have stated their intention to move from Pro Continental to ProTour status by 2012. Their participation in this year's Vuelta a España is part of a three-year plan to make the step-up to join the top level teams.
Vacansoleil have have been a strong presence throughout this year's Vuelta. Ever present in breakaways throughout the race, the team's persistence was rewarded by their Slovenian sprinter Borut Bozic, who claimed victory on the Vuelta's sixth stage into Xativa. In addition to Bozic's win, Johnny Hoogerland, who was this week selected for the Dutch Worlds team, sits 13th overall, 12:18 behind Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne).
One of three wildcard teams invited to the Vuelta, De Telegraaf reported that race organiser Unipublic had also been pleased by Vacansoleil's performance in the tree week race.
"We had requests from several countries, including Italy, but also a few Spanish teams," said race director Javier Guillén. "When I invite a team, I expect that will race aggressively; Vacansoleil have repaid the invitation with interest."
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