Sven Nys and Belgian broadband supplier Telenet – the manager and main sponsor, respectively, of the Telenet Baloise Lions cyclo-cross team – will part ways following the 2020 season, with both parties having worked together since 2009, but with both parties also seemingly claiming that the decision to part was theirs.
Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reported on its website on Monday that a Telenet spokesperson said, "We're the ones who have decided to terminate the contract," whereas Nys, according to the same newspaper, suggested that the decision was his when he said in a press release that his team was set to take a new direction in 2021.
"Telenet has been a sponsor of this team for more than 10 years, but from 2021 we want to introduce an innovative formula in sponsoring our team," Nys said on Sunday.
"In it, we want to approach the media rights of the team and the riders in a different way, and approach our activities with team partners differently," the two-time world champion continued. "An exclusive partnership with a telecom and media company such as Telenet no longer fits in with that.
"We still have long-term contracts with a number of riders such as Toon Aerts and Lars van der Haar, but at the same time we're going to continue to focus strongly on our young riders with, among others, Thibau [Nys – Sven's son and junior European champion], who will be an under-23 rider next year.
"Operations at the Sven Nys Academy will also be further expanded," Nys added, which he explained had in the past two years put more than 1,000 children between the ages of seven and 14 on bikes, "as will the business activities at the Sven Nys Cycling Center in Baal."
Telenet are also currently the main sponsor of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, and it's as yet unclear whether their sponsorship will continue for the 2020/21 series, when the UCI has proposed that the competition will be made up of 16 rounds – compared to its current nine – which a number of riders, as well as Telenet Baloise Lions manager Nys, have spoken out against.
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