HTC-Columbia pairs with Skype for Tour de France

HTC-Columbia team owner Bob Stapleton speaks to the media at the team's launch in Adelaide.

HTC-Columbia team owner Bob Stapleton speaks to the media at the team's launch in Adelaide. (Image credit: Mark Gunter)

The HTC-Columbia team will unveil a new jersey just ahead of the Tour de France, and included in the new kit will be the logo of internet communications company Skype. It will be the third straight year the team has rolled out a new look for the Tour - in 2008 the squad signed clothing manufacturer Columbia and mid-way through 2009 added cell phone maker HTC.

The team announced on Tuesday that it has partnered with Skype, but the press release did not specify the level of sponsorship or length of the arrangement. It said they will use the company's services during the Tour de France to allow riders to perform video interviews with the press. 

Over their 10-month long season, riders have employed Skype as a way to keep in touch with family and friends back home, and team owner Bob Stapleton said the partnership with the team was a simple decision.

"Skype keeps the whole team communicating and emotionally connected as we traverse the globe competing in the world's top races such as the Tour de France," Stapleton said.

Neil Stevens, General Manager of Skype's Consumer Business Unit added, "One of [HTC-Columbia's] new riders, Hayden Roulston has watched his baby crawl, stand and take his first steps over Skype video. That's the beauty of Skype; it allows people to do the things they normally do together even when they are thousands of miles apart."

The team will launch its new jersey in Rotterdam on July 2.

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