Italian coffee brand Segafredo has confirmed it will become co-sponsor the Trek Factory Racing team for the next three years during a press conference at the company’s headquarters near Treviso.
Fabian Cancellara, Bauke Mollema and team manager Luca Guercilena were all at the event and showed off the Trek-Segafredo team’s 2016 jersey with the Segafredo logo sitting below the Trek logo on the chest and back of the black and white jersey.
Guercilena said the financial security offered by the arrival of Segafredo will allow the team to strengthen its roster and plan for the future. Cancellara has confirmed that he will retire after the 2016 season and Guercilena has already told Cyclingnews he would be interested in signing Vincenzo Nibali for 2017 and that Tejay van Garderen is also on his radar as a future Grand Tour team leader.
“The partnership with Segafredo is wonderful news,” Guercilena said. "Since the start of the team two years ago our performance and recruitment plan has revolved around long-term thinking. With Segafredo we have found a partner that shares the same values.”
Segafredo is a division of the Massimo Zanetti Beverage Group, which also owns popular US brand MJB and numerous other brands around the world. It claims to be the largest private coffee company in the world, with a reported turnover of 1.3 billion Euro and 2400 employees.
Massimo Zanetti, founder, chairman, managing director and president of the company, said he has long dreamed of becoming involved in cycling. Segafredo sponsored the Mclaren Formula 1 team in 2015 and the Honda team at the time of Ayrton Senna, as well as Italian soccer and basketball teams. Segafredo was a minor sponsor of Francesco Moser’s Supermercati Brianzoli in 1986 and 1987, but Zanetti is a keen cycling fan and is known to take time off work to see key stages of the Giro d’Italia. Nibali’s win at the 2014 Tour de France apparently convinced him to become a major sponsor.
“When I was a child, my father took me to a Giro d’Italia stage,” Zanetti said. “I saw Coppi and Bartali; Coppi with the pink jersey, Bartali with the tricolor jersey of the Italian champion. I was so impressed and fascinated that, from that time on, I always said to myself that sooner or later I would sponsor cycling.
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“Today is that day, thanks to Trek, a great team composed of riders from Italy and from all over the world… It is a bit like we are at Segafredo. I really hope we are going to achieve important successes once again as often happened in the past in other sports such as Formula 1, where Segafredo became three times world champion with Rosberg, Lauda and Prost, not to mention the great friend Ayrton Senna, who drove his F1 car for a long time with Segafredo on board.”
Trek Senior Vice President Joe Vadeboncoeur said the relationship between the coffee company and the cycling team was natural fit.
“Everyone who rides knows that there is nothing in the world that goes better with cycling than coffee,” Vadeboncoeur said. “We are thrilled to welcome Segrafredo to the team and are looking forward to racing together in 2016 and beyond.”
The Trek Factory Racing team started in 2011 as Leopard-Trek and was registered in Luxembourg. The team became RadioShack-Nissan in 2012 and then RadioShack-Leopard in 2013. Trek bought the WorldTour license ahead of the 2014 season and moved the team’s registration to the US. The team have raced as Trek Factory Racing since then.
Trek have signed several new riders for 2016 but perhaps held back on any major changes until Cancellara retires and the Segafredo sponsorship was confirmed. The team has gained experience by signing Ryder Hesjedal (from Cannondale-Garmin) and young talent in Edward Theuns (from Topsport Vlaanderen) and Niccolò Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida). Peter Stetina (BMC), Julien Bernard, Jack Bobridge (Budget Forklifts), and Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare) have all been added to the 2016 roster that also includes Stijn Devolder and Fränk Schleck.
Cancellara confirms Giro d’Italia participation
With a prominent Italian co-sponsor on board, Trek-Segafredo will look to make an impression at the Giro d’Italia, where Fabian Cancellara will line up for the first time since 2009 with the stated aim of wearing the maglia rosa for the first time in what will be his final season a professional.
“It’ll be flat out all season because I’ve still got goals to achieve,” Cancellara said on Wednesday. “It won’t be a goodbye season, I want to get on the podium in Classics and I’ll be at the Giro d’Italia. I’ve never worn pink and so it’s a goal for my last season. The Giro also starts in the Netherlands and with Segafredo and Mapei Sport with us it’s important. I won the 1999 Worlds [junior time trial – ed.] which passed the Segafredo headquarters. It seems a perfect story for my final season.”
The son of an immigrant from Puglia, Cancellara’s ties to his father’s country continued as a professional, and he noted that his Trek team’s new links with Segafredo and the Mapei training centre mark an appropriate way to bring the curtain down on a career that began in the colours of Mapei in 2000.
“I think I made the right choice to join Mapei. I raced as an under-23 in the Veneto [where Segafredo is based – ed.] and worked with Luca. That was my start,” Cancellara said. “Now everything seems to come together and it seems the best way to end things. My motivation has triplicated for next season.”