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Blanco becomes Team Belkin ahead of Tour de France

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Proudly presenting the new Belkin colours

Proudly presenting the new Belkin colours
(Image credit: Belkin Pro Cycling)
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Two Team Blanco riders relax before the start of the stage

Two Team Blanco riders relax before the start of the stage
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Belkin CEO Chet Pipkin at the pre-Tour de France launch

Belkin CEO Chet Pipkin at the pre-Tour de France launch
(Image credit: Bert Geerts/dcp-bertgeerts@xs4all.nl)
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Team Belkin are presented with a new look and colours ahead of the 100th Tour de France

Team Belkin are presented with a new look and colours ahead of the 100th Tour de France
(Image credit: Bert Geerts/dcp-bertgeerts@xs4all.nl)
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Belkin team Skoda and a fresh lick of paint for the Giant Propel team bike

Belkin team Skoda and a fresh lick of paint for the Giant Propel team bike
(Image credit: Bert Geerts/dcp-bertgeerts@xs4all.nl)
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Team Blanco now has a real brand behind the logo

Team Blanco now has a real brand behind the logo
(Image credit: Bert Geerts/dcp-bertgeerts@xs4all.nl)
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Bauke Mollema will lead Belkin at this year's Tour

Bauke Mollema will lead Belkin at this year's Tour
(Image credit: Bert Geerts/dcp-bertgeerts@xs4all.nl)
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No room for Tjallingii at this year's Tour de France

No room for Tjallingii at this year's Tour de France
(Image credit: Bert Geerts/dcp-bertgeerts@xs4all.nl)
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Rick Flens models the new Belkin kit

Rick Flens models the new Belkin kit
(Image credit: Bert Geerts/dcp-bertgeerts@xs4all.nl)
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Robert Gesink is hoping to turn around his fortune at the Tour

Robert Gesink is hoping to turn around his fortune at the Tour
(Image credit: Bert Geerts/dcp-bertgeerts@xs4all.nl)
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Belkin has committed to a two-year deal with the squad formerly known as Blanco

Belkin has committed to a two-year deal with the squad formerly known as Blanco
(Image credit: Bert Geerts/dcp-bertgeerts@xs4all.nl)
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Robert Gesink and team sprinter Theo Bos in the new kit

Robert Gesink and team sprinter Theo Bos in the new kit
(Image credit: Bert Geerts/dcp-bertgeerts@xs4all.nl)
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Wilco Kelderman will skip this year's Tour after finishing 17th at the Giro d'Italia

Wilco Kelderman will skip this year's Tour after finishing 17th at the Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Bert Geerts/dcp-bertgeerts@xs4all.nl)
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Belkin CEO Chet Pipkin, Wilco Kelderman, Michiel Elijzen, Maarten Tjallingi, Erik Dekker and Jetse Bole model their new kit ahead of the Tour

Belkin CEO Chet Pipkin, Wilco Kelderman, Michiel Elijzen, Maarten Tjallingi, Erik Dekker and Jetse Bole model their new kit ahead of the Tour
(Image credit: Bert Geerts/dcp-bertgeerts@xs4all.nl)

Team Belkin will replace the Blanco Pro Racing Team, making its debut at the Tour de France. The riders will wear the green colours of the new team sponsor in Corsica on Saturday for the start of the race, while the contract will run for two and a half years.

Belkin is a US-based firm which makes products ranging from wireless home networking and entertainment, to mobile accessories, energy management, and an extensive range of cables.

The team has run so far this year as Blanco, following the loss last autumn of title sponsor Rabobank. The Dutch bank pulled out after a string of damaging headlines involving doping within the sport.

The Blanco management team have been coy about their search for a new sponsor in the last few months but Belkin began to surface as a potential replacement during the Giro d'Italia. Monday's news signifies a major boost for both the team and Dutch cycling as a whole.

“We have had a very hectic period behind us, but in Belkin we have found a tremendous new sponsor. Right from the first contact, the discussions went very well. We have shared values: we want to win as a team but we attach a lot of importance to the manner in which we win. I also want to thank Rabobank: they provided for the continuity and gave us the opportunity to find a new sponsor. Now we are really underway," said team manager Richard Plugge.

The team's Tour de France leader Bauke Mollema echoed Plugge's comments. “I’ve believed from day one the management would be able to find a new sponsor despite the challenging economic period we face. Therefore, my focus was on training and racing. If we did not have sponsor before the Tour began, that might have been cause for concern but happily that is not the case. I am very pleased that we can know continue to grow and become even more successful.”

More later...