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Polartec ends sponsorship of Alberto Contador's Continental team

Alberto Contador chats with Polartec CEO Gary Smith before the opening-day ride in Arizona.

Alberto Contador chats with Polartec CEO Gary Smith before the opening-day ride in Arizona. (Image credit: Pat Malach)

American clothing company Polartec will end its sponsorship of The Alberto Contador Foundation programmes, including Continental team Polartec-Kometa, it was announced in a press release on Thursday.

Polartec have been a sponsor of the foundation since 2016, and became a title sponsor of the new Continental squad, along with Italian food producer Kometa, this season.

Polartec-Kometa is run by Contador in collaboration with fellow former pro Ivan Basso, who manages the team. It's one of the teams under The Alberto Contador Foundation umbrella, which initially started in competitive cycling in 2013 with the junior team, and then added an under-23 team and the Éboli Cycling School in Contador's hometown of Pinto, Spain, before the Polartec-Kometa team saw the light of day at the start of this year.

Contador decided to start the Continental team following his retirement from professional cycling in 2017. At the team's first training camp in December last year, Contador, Basso and Polartec CEO Gary Smith said the main goal was to develop professional riders and help them grow in the pro ranks. The team signed sprinters such as Michele Gazzoli and Matteo Moschetti – with the latter joining WorldTour team Trek-Segafredo in 2019 – as well as Spanish all-rounder Miguel Ángel Ballesteros.

"We are deeply grateful to Polartec for their confidence in the project over the years," said Francisco Javier Contador, manager of the foundation. 

"The opportunity to work with Gary Smith and all his people has been wonderful. What began, a few years ago in Bormio, as being an 'it would be good if some day we could' ended up materialising into a reality. His belief in our project has been fundamental in its consolidation and growth.

"For us it has been very important to have the opportunity to work with such a leading brand worldwide. It has made our work much easier. And I am sure that in the future our roads will cross again."