Blanco becomes Team Belkin ahead of Tour de France

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...

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