Belgian Pro Continental team Wanty-Gobert will become Circus-Wanty Gobert for 2020, the team has announced, with Circus stepping up to become the title sponsor. At the same time, the casino and sports-betting company is set to be pulling out as co-sponsor of the Corendon-Circus team – home to current cyclo-cross and road star Mathieu van der Poel.
Hilaire Van der Schueren's team was originally due to be called Wanty Gobert-Tormans for next season, and although Belgian recruitment company Tormans will still be involved in sponsorship of the road team, it will now become the title sponsor of the new Tormans Cyclo Cross Team, which will boast Quinten Hermans and Corné van Kessel, with both riders leaving Telenet Baloise Lions in the new year.
"Our will is to continue our progress both on the road and in cyclo-cross," Van der Schueren said in a team press release. "We want to become one of the best cyclo-cross teams, if not the best, in the world. In this regard, we won't only concentrate on the pro men; we also want to reinforce the team with elite women and under-23 riders."
Circus, meanwhile, has been a smaller sponsor of Wanty-Gobert since 2017, but now steps up as the road team's main sponsor for 2020.
"We'll continue to target the position of best UCI Pro Team in the world ranking for the next three years," continued Van der Schueren. "The partnerships with Circus and Tormans enable us, on the financial side, to reinforce our team to reach our goal."
Circus parent company Ardent Group's CEO, Emmanuel Mewissen, added: "Following three nice seasons with Wanty-Gobert, with their performances at the Tour de France – the biggest race in the world – as the team's high point, we wanted to accompany them in their progression.
"To strengthen our partnership with the Wanty-Gobert team makes a lot of sense for us. And while Circus is staying loyal to its Belgian roots, we're also developing internationally, with a strong expansion in casinos in France, for example," he said.
Het Nieuwsblad reported on Tuesday that Circus would now step down from its co-sponsor position with road and cyclo-cross team Corendon-Circus at the end of this season, quoting the team's general manager, Philip Roodhooft, as saying: "Circus is leaving for Wanty Gobert, while Corendon still has a contract in 2020."
This was confirmed by the UCI's announcement on Tuesday of the 2020 WorldTeams (WorldTour) and ProTeams – the latter the new name for the Pro Continental squads – which lists Dutch star Van der Poel's team's name as simply Corendon for next season.