Chipotle confirmed Monday that it would not be renewing its sponsorship of the Slipstream Sports development squad that has carried its name for the past two seasons.
Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold told Cyclingnews via email that the decision was based on the company's long-term marketing strategy and had nothing to do with the recent controversies surrounding Lance Armstrong and several of his former teammates who now ride for Garmin-Sharp, Slipstream's WorldTour team.
"Lance had nothing to do with it," Arnold said. "Quite simply, we have been dialing back our sports sponsorships across the board. It's really that simple."
Chipotle sponsored both the UCI Continental program as well as Slipstream's junior development team.
The junior team roster featured 19 riders from across the US who competed in mostly domestic races. The Under-23 Continental team, which raced as Chipotle-First Solar, boasted 15 riders in 2012, basing itself in France this season and racing a mostly European calendar.
Chipotle's involvement with Slipstream dates back to 2008 when the Mexican restaurant chain signed on a title sponsor of the fledgling ProTour team. Garmin signed on as title sponsor of the team about halfway thorough the 2008 season. In 2010 Transitions Optical took over as the presenting sponsor.
Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake before studying English and journalism at the University of Oregon. He has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon.
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