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United Pro Cycling unveils sponsor

The Toyota-United Pro Cycling team

The Toyota-United Pro Cycling team (Image credit: Marco Quezada)

After months of secrecy the United Pro Cycling announced its sponsor and a planned structure of support from fans. Ashley McCullough was in New York City for the team's launch.

The US' latest professional team, United Pro Cycling, unveiled its title sponsor in New York Tuesday morning, revealing that car maker Toyota would be backing the new squad. The team will also be funded by support from fans, team owner Sean Tucker announced.

Tucker is clearly hoping that the riders and directors he has recruited will be an irresistible draw for fans. The team includes USPRO champion Chris Wherry, U.S. time trial champion Chris Baldwin, Pan Am Games champion Ivan Dominguez, former U.S. Olympian Tony Cruz, and four-time Argentinean national champion, Juan Jose Haedo. The fan support business model has worked for the Euskaltel-Euskadi team in the Basque country, but failed to bring in enough revenue to support Australia's iTeamNOVA in 2002 and 2003.

It's a new way of working for an American team; U.S. domestic squads have always followed the traditional cycling model of seeking support from a large naming sponsor. But when the sponsor decides its priorities lie elsewhere, the team can go from dominance to nothing overnight.

"The problem with the existing structure is that after a couple years of building a great team, a sponsor will fold and the team will disappear. Not anymore," says Tucker.

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