Vini Zabù winery joins Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert as sponsor for 2022

EL BARRACO SPAIN AUGUST 29 Odd Christian Eiking of Norway and Team Intermarch Wanty Gobert Matriaux red leader jersey competes during the 76th Tour of Spain 2021 Stage 15 a 1975km km stage from Navalmoral de la Mata to El Barraco lavuelta LaVuelta21 on August 29 2021 in El Barraco Spain Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert with Odd Christian Eiking in the leader's red jersey at the Vuelta a España (Image credit: Getty Images)

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert have announced that Italian wine company Vini Zabù will come on board for 2022 as a sponsorship partner.

The deal looks to spell the end for the company's partnership with the Italian ProTeam lead by Angelo Citracca and Luca Scinto which has carried the winery's name for the past two seasons.

Vini Zabù's move to the Belgian WorldTour squad has been rumoured for several weeks, and now means that the Farnese Vini Group will have two sponsorship deals in the WorldTour, with the Vini Fantini brand adorning Israel Start-Up Nation's kits.

Team CEO Jean-François Boulart hailed the partnership, noting the two of the team's major victories in recent years have had Italian links.

"We are delighted by this partnership with the great Italian group Vini Fantini, and in particular its subsidiary Vini Zabù," Boulart said. 

"We have had a long love affair with Italy, not only because we have welcomed many Italian riders in our team, but also because of two key moments in our team’s history: the victory in the 2016 Amstel Gold Race thanks to Enrico Gasparotto, an Italian rider, as well as the magnificent success of Taco Van der Hoorn on our very first Giro d’Italia, which triggered then a series of victories for the team."

Earlier reports had suggested that the winery was unable or unwilling to fully fund a team for the upcoming season, preferring instead to take on a smaller non-name sponsorship deal, also noting that Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert's Italian directeur sportif Valerio Piva had acted as a contact between the two parties to get the deal done.

"After thirteen years of presence in Italian teams with the group Farnese Vini, we're happy to start this unprecedented partnership with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert," said Vini Fantini marketing manager Giulia Sciotti. "The team is always present in breakaways and distinguishes itself by its combativeness.

"Nowadays, the team is recognized for its achievements in the most prestigious cycling events. Just like our group, the structure stands for a clean and honest sport as it is driven by passion and love for the job. The presence of the Vini Zabù logo on the team kits offers a great guarantee in terms of visibility for Vini Zabù on the sportive side, but also in commercial terms. Belgium is one of our major export partners, so it is a fantastic opportunity for our group to reinforce its position on the market."

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert made the step up to the WorldTour for the first time in 2021 after buying the license of the folding CCC team in late 2020. 

This season, the team achieved several big victories, including its first Grand Tour stage win at the Giro with Van der Hoorn and a stage of the Vuelta a España with Rein Taaramäe, plus nine days in the leader's red jersey via the Estonian and Odd Christian Eiking.

The team's new sponsorship deal looks to spell the end of a long-running relationship with the ProTeam that currently bears the Vini Zabù name, which was previously named for Farnese VIni (in 2011) and Vini Fantini (in 2013). The company had also previously sponsored the now-defunct ProTeam Nippo-Vini Fantini between 2014 and 2019, while it has sponsored ISN for the past two seasons.

It remains to be seen what the future holds for the current Vini Zabù team, which has been running since 2009 and taken part in all but three editions of the Giro d'Italia since then. 

The team did not make the initial deadline to apply for a 2022 ProTeam license, though only two riders – Simone Bevilacque (to Eolo-Kometa), and Andrea Bartolozzi (to Beltrami TSA) – have agreed deals elsewhere despite several Italian media reports suggesting that the team will step down to the Continental or U23 ranks next season.

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