The national Belgian Lottery has been involved with professional cycling for over 30 years and will continue to be so until at least 2020 having announced its further commitment to the Lotto Cycling Project.
The Belgian Lotto-Belisol WorldTour team will be known as Lotto Soudal from 2015 after Belisol ended its sponsorship of the team having joined as a naming sponsor in 2012. Soudal, which was founded in 1966, produces sealants, adhesives and foams and becomes the co-naming sponsor for the next six seasons. At the 2013 Tour de France, the logo of the Belgian company was added the team shorts and this season was moved to the back of the team shorts, and the front on the jersey.
Jannie Haek, CEO National Lottery, expressed his pleasure at extending the association with the men's, women's and U23 Lotto cycling teams.
"We have always wanted to open doors for cycling, in a generous way and with reliable partners," Haek said. "To fulfill dreams you need a team that shares the same passion and the same ambitions."
With a new naming sponsor in Soudal, the team remains committed to a WorldTour team with a core of Belgian riders and the ambition of developing young Belgian talent and women's cycling.
"The Lotto Cycling Project is and will remain a locally anchored initiative of which the international fame and good reputation is known," Haek added. "We absolutely want to continue this way for the next six years. It pleases me a lot to realize that with a solid, familiar and ambitious team, also behind the scenes."
The announcement was welcomed by Lotto's general manager, Marc Sergeant, who added his pleasure at securing a Belgian sponsor for the coming season.
"The Belgian cycling project has to stay the dream of each young Belgian rider, become and be a standard in international cycling," Sergeant said. "And the pinnacle of all efforts of cycling-loving Belgium. We have to show that the Belgian cycling project has its place in the WorldTour. Preferably with Belgian partners who want to present themselves internationally."
For Vic Swerts, the founder and global chairman of Soudal, the decision to sponsor the team through to 2020 will ensure greater exposure for the company which is active in over 130 countries and is looking forward to the new partnership.
"The Belgian identity as a seal of quality is paramount for Soudal, Lotto and the cycling team," Swerts said. "The values and ideals behind achieving consistently better results through hard work, perseverance, a long-term vision and focus also stand in perfect harmony. We engage us until 2020 at least to support the ambitious cycling project and will be visible on the team jerseys as main sponsor."
During the three season that Belisol was a co-naming sponsor, the team achieved six Tour de France stage wins and a day in the yellow jersey, among many more victories.
"We look back on the past three years with some great Lotto Belisol highlights, like the Tour de France 2012 with three stage wins of Greipel and a fourth place for Van den Broeck," Nicolas Thiel, general director of Belisol, said. "Belisol wants to use the budget that becomes available after quitting as a name sponsor of the WorldTour team, to further develop the brand. We are pleased that – now we can pass the torch as name sponsor to Soudal – the continuity of this beautiful team is guaranteed and we deliberate about our future in sport sponsoring."
Chairman of the Lotto Sports Organisation, Roger Malevé, was also encouraged by the bold new long-term sponsorship arragnement.
"The agreement with Soudal brings an important continuity to the team. Lotto and Soudal engage themselves for six years, that’s rather exceptional in this sector," Malevé said. "The cycling team as "billboard on wheels" makes it possible for the new partner Soudal to position its name and company internationally. Fighting together for a spot on the international level is our common spirit."
Ridley will remain the team bike sponsor.
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