Belkin team in search for new title sponsor for 2015, after technology firm pulls plug on sponsorship
The technology firm originally signed up for a two-and-a-half year deal with the squad in mid-2013, but this will now be cut short by 12 months. The firm cites a change in strategy to focus on global promotion rather than within Europe as its reason for withdrawal.
“It is unfortunate that this new collaboration is not going to be extended,” said team manager Richard Plugge in a statement on Tuesday. “With the motto #ridethefuture we have generated a lot of goodwill the past year, in an environment that is still critically observed. Our innovative method and forward-looking team philosophy has brought the sport back where it belongs, with fans and stakeholders.”
“We have full confidence in the future and expect to appear with a new sponsor on the shirt at the start of the 2015 season. We are a Dutch procycling team with an international image and WorldTour status, therefore we expect to find a new title sponsor.”
The team has a long history in the sport, with its roots in the Kwantum and Superconfex squads of the 1980s, but will probably be best remembered for the period it was sponsored by Rabobank between 1996 and 2012.
Belkin currently sits mid-table in the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) WorldTour ranking, in ninth place out of 18 teams. The squad has taken two victories in the WorldTour this season, with stage wins in the Volta a Catalunya for Stef Clement and in Paris-Nice for Moreno Hofland.
The team’s Grand Tour regular Robert Gesink is temporarily out of racing due to surgery for a heart condition, but the outfit has found a new stage race talent in Wilco Kelderman, who placed fourth overall in the Criterium du Dauphine.
Dutch sprinter Theo Bos has been the team’s stand-out performer in bunch finishes this season, taking four stages in the Tour de Langkawi and winning the World Ports Classic and last week’s Ronde van Zeeland Seaports.
Persistent problems with irregular heartbeat sidelines Dutch rider Robert Gesink
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