Pinarello Sky bike shows Italians' intent
Pinarello Sky bike
Italian bike manufacturer Pinarello have added a Sky bike to their range in colours not too dissimilar to that of the media company that is backing the British ProTour team next year.
The Pinarello Prince Sky bike comes in black, dark blue and white shades that match perfectly the kit worn by the track trade team riders Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, and would seem to show their intent on backing the new British team in 2010.
Although there is nothing on Pinarello's site linking the bike to the new team, it would seem more than a coincidence. Cycling Weekly can reveal that Pinarello has been in lengthy discussions with Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford, although they now look to be second favourite in the race to provide bikes for the biggest team to enter professional cycling in years.
Brailsford has been in discussions with many of the major bike builders. He met with representatives from Look at the track worlds in Poland and Specialized are also reported to be interested.
But the favourites now seem to be Giant. When we spoke to the world's biggest bike manufacturer at the Tour of California in February they told us they'd only be interested in the team if they could also back the track riders due to the amount of publicity they now receive.
Although Giant do make a track bike, it's unlikely the British team would ride it after spending years developing their own equipment. They could however put Giant stickers on the bikes if it sealed what would be a multi-million pound deal.
Rabobank are currently the only ProTour team riding Giant bikes after Columbia signed up with Scott at the end of last season.
A bike sponsorship deal will typically involve a the manufacturer supplying around 200 bikes (road and time trial), plus paying whatever amount is negotiated. Colnago famously used to claim they were the only manufacturer not to pay to sponsor a team, while Specialized's deal with Quick Step is believed to be one of the biggest at about €1.4m a year.