Liquigas hopes Tour success could help find sponsor
Liquigas-Cannondale chase, Tour de France 2012, stage eight
Liquigas-Cannondale welcomes all the success it is enjoying this year in the Tour de France since changes are in store for 2013. Vincenzo Nibali, third overall, is leaving and title sponsor Liquigas is likely to leave too.
"Certainly, results help in finding something, but I don't believe that immediate success equals sponsorship," Roberto Amadio, the team's general manager told Cycling Weekly this morning. "Sponsors arrive because you have a solid structure, something that you've proved over eight years. It's clear, though, that sponsors are pleased by results and it helps. It's all added together in the end."
Sicilian Vincenzo Nibali is ready to give the Italian first division team its first podium spot in the Tour de France since it began in 2005. It has already won the Giro d'Italia with Ivan Basso in 2010 and the Vuelta a España with Nibali in 2010.
Slovak Peter Sagan secured three stage wins this year and positioned himself to win the green jersey. He leads the points competition by 356 points over André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) at 254 points with three days to race.
After the Tour de France ends in Paris, Amadio must seriously start to consider the team's future. Its Grand Tour star is leaving and likely to join the Astana team. Liquigas, an Italian natural gas company, is likely pulling out too.
US bike manufacturer, Cannondale reportedly will take over title sponsorship, as the BMC Bicycles company funds Cadel Evans' team. Amadio is said to be also looking for a second title sponsor. With Italy suffering debt problems, he has a difficult search on his hands.
"It's a particular moment for all the sponsors in Italy," he said of Liquigas. "They are evaluating their involvement."
Amadio welcomed Nibali in his second year as a professional when he was only 21 years old and helped him develop. He filled Ivan Basso's shoes as Liquigas' Grand Tour captain. When Basso won the Giro in 2010, Nibali helped himself to a stage win and placed third overall. He went on to win the Vuelta. This year, he won the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race and nearly pulled off a 20km solo attack in Liège-Bastogne-Liège one-day classic.
"We made our offer, what we thought was best. There's a big difference in what the other teams are offering, though," said Amadio. "I'm sorry, but we've had seven years together, grew together. [his Tour] shows that we are able to help young riders grow and realise their dreams."
His new star, Sagan re-signed earlier this year through 2014. Sagan and riders like Moreno Moser, winner of the Tour of Poland, will lead Amadio's team though the changes.
Tour de France 2012: Latest news
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Wiggins' Tour de France training
Voigt tries to carry on as RadioShack's future seems in doubt
Frank Schleck positive for banned substance at Tour
Rest day review (July 17)
Defending Tour champ Evans has work to do in Pyrenees
Sprinters' teams unwilling to work on stage 15
Evans suffers multiple punctures after Tour tack attack
Froome not winning this year's Tour is 'very great sacrifice'
Frank Schleck criticises 'boring' Tour de France
Tour de France 2012: Stage reports
Stage 16: Voeckler the Pyrenean king as he wins in Bagneres de Luchon
Stage 15: Fedrigo wins, day off for peloton
Stage 14: Sanchez solos to Foix victory to save Rabobank's Tour
Stage 13: Greipel survives climb and crosswinds to win third Tour stage
Stage 12: Millar wins Tour stage nine years from his last
Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back
Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour
Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT
Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks
Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage
Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage
Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades
Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes
Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne
Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory
Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt
Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second
Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs
Analysis: What we learned at La Planche des Belles Filles
Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour's time trials
CW's Tour de France podcasts
Blog: Tour presentation - chasing dreams and autographs
Comment: Cavendish the climber
Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries
Stage 16 by Graham Watson
Stage 15 by Graham Watson
Stage 14 by Graham Watson
Stage 13 by Graham Watson
Stage 12 by Graham Watson
Stage 11 by Graham Watson
Stage 10 by Graham Watson
Stage nine by Graham Watson
Stage eight by Graham Watson
Stage seven by Graham Watson
Stage six by Graham Watson
Stage five by Graham Watson
Stage four by Graham Watson
Stage three by Graham Watson
Stage two by Andy Jones
Stage two by Graham Watson
Stage one by Graham Watson
Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones
Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler
Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2012: Team presentation
Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce
Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage
Stage 17 live coverage
Stage 16 live coverage
Stage 12 live coverage
Stage 11 live coverage
Stage 10 live coverage
Stage nine live coverage
Stage six live coverage
Stage five live coverage
Stage four live coverage
Stage three live coverage
Cycling Weekly's live text coverage schedule
Tour de France 2012: Related links
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
Brief history of the Tour de France
Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever