The Circus-Wanty-Gobert team that are taking over the WorldTour licence of the CCC Team have added a new title sponsor in the form of supermarket giant, Intermarché.
From January 1, the Belgian team will be known as Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, with Circus dropping from title sponsorship but remaining as a backer as the UCI rules (2.15.055) limits title sponsors for WorldTeams to a maximum of three.
Intermarché is part of the French company Groupement les Mousquetaires, but has had a Belgian arm since 1991 and currently operates 78 stores in the country, mostly in the French-speaking Wallonia region in the south.
"Cycling is one of the most popular sports in Belgium. We experience it in our streets. The races take place at our doorsteps," said Alain Boulle, chairman of Intermarché Belgium, in Thursday's announcement.
"Team Wanty Gobert embodies our shared value of proximity, but also attaches importance to a true team spirit and friendliness, just like our selling points. So we're proud to be their title partner."
The team, run by Jean-François Bourlart and Hilaire Van Der Schueren, was formed in 2008 and has competed in the second division of professional cycling for the past 10 years, earning invites to most of the Spring Classics and also the Tour de France from 2017 to 2019.
From next year, there'll be no need to rely on invites, as the team steps up to the WorldTour, with Intermarché providing an increased budget. Want You Cycling, the holding company behind the team, has taken over Continuum Sports, which ran CCC Team and held its WorldTour licence. Manager Jim Ochowicz has been kept on, while three riders have made the transition.
"With Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, we're ready to write the first lines of a new chapter in the history of our cycling team," said Bourlart.
"Thanks to the takeover of Continuum Sports, we were able to reach a new sportive milestone in the history of our team. So I'm very happy to be able to rely on the support of Intermarché for the next three seasons. I want to thank all our historical partners, among whom Circus. They will disappear from the team name, but the next years they stay a solid partner. Our partner's slogan is 'All united for a cheaper life'. So here we are, with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, all united towards the victory."
Jan Hirt, Georg Zimmerman, and Jonas Koch are the riders moving across from CCC, while the team have made a marquee signing in the form of former Tour de France top-10 finisher Louis Meintjes. Also joining are Rein Taaramäe from Total Direct Energie, Lorenzo Rota from Vini-Zabu-KTM, and Baptiste Planckaert from Bingoal WB.
The team currently have 27 riders signed up for 2021, with room for another five, if required.
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