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Team's future secured as US consumer electronics accessories firm steps into void left by Rabobank...

Blanco Pro Cycling has announced a change of name and unveiled its new kit as it prepares to take to the start of the Tour de France on Corsica on Saturday as Belkin Pro Cycling.

The American consumer electronics accessories and peripherals firm was formally unveiled as the team’s new sponsor today, although reports it would be coming aboard first appeared earlier this month.

Belkin’s backing ends uncertainty over the team’s future after long-term sponsor Rabobank withdrew its support last autumn in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal.

The financial institution has continued to back the team during 2013, but without its name appearing in the title or on jerseys.

However, the bank’s name has still featured regularly in headlines in the cycling press and beyond, with a number of former riders including Michael Rasmussen coming forward to confess to doping while with the Dutch outfit.

The desire of the team to look ahead, rather than backwards, is reflected in its new slogan, 'Ride The Future,' as highlighted in this video.

Belkin’s products include WiFi routers, USB cables and other accessories for PCs, tablets and mobile phones, among others. Based in California, it also owns the Linksys brand.

Both companies’ logos will feature on the new kit, with the jersey carrying the corporate colours of green, white and black. The sponsorship agreement runs through to the end of 2015.

Belkin founder and CEO Chet Pipkin said: “Cycling relies on innovation to drive success and has a passionate, tech savvy fan base that follows the sport closely, which aligns really well with the Belkin brand.

“Associating our Belkin and Linksys brands with this successful, well-established pro cycling team enables us to introduce ourselves to millions of people around the world and interact with them.”

The team’s general manager, Richard Plugge, commented: “With 19 victories this year and a new title sponsor, 2013 is shaping up to be a dream season for our team.

“As a company, Belkin shares our values and global ambitions, so we are very excited to have them on board as our sponsor. We look forward to two and a half years of shared successes.”

Currently, Dutch riders including Bauke Mollema who has been designated team leader for the Tour de France, dominate the line-up, accounting for 18 of the 29 men on the team roster, many of those coming through the Rabobank under-23 development team.

Mollema had some advice for anyone considering whether or not to include him in their Fantasy Cycling team. “Why should people select me in their Fantasy Tour Team?

"I think you can always score a good deal of points in the classification and as I’m shooting for a top ten spot, that may be as good a reason as any. On top of that, I’m relatively quick in the uphill sprint so that should deliver some extra points.”

The likelihood is that the team will move away from that emphasis on Dutch riders, and given the new sponsorship, we’d anticipate American riders to start finding a home with it.

By coincidence, Rabobank itself has a sizeable operation in Belkin’s home state, which made the Tour of California, an event for which the bank was an official partner, a big target – Robert Gesink won the overall there last year.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

13 comments

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bikeandy61 [524 posts] 2 years ago
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Interesting. US company sponsoring a continental team when a US pro squad is looking for a sponsor. Unless Trek really are looking to do a Cannondale when Radio shack drop out at the year end.

Or maybe a US firm isn't keen to be associated with a team once home to Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel.

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Super Domestique [1596 posts] 2 years ago
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I think Trek will 'do a Cannondale' tbh.

As another point the Blanco kit looked better!

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Simon_MacMichael [2449 posts] 2 years ago
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bikeandy61: I see your point, but RadioShack-Leopard is under the old Leopard Trek licence held by Flavio Becca's Leopard SA, so it's registered in Luxembourg, not US.

The 'US' RadioShack licence, which was held by Capital Sports & Entertainment (shareholders including one Lance Armstrong) ceased at the end of 2011 after the teams merged.

(The situation and the relationships between the various parties that see RadioShack continue as sponsor until the end of this year appears to be a lot more complicated, but that's the bare bones on the licences).

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edf242 [39 posts] 2 years ago
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bikeandy61 wrote:

Interesting. US company sponsoring a continental team when a US pro squad is looking for a sponsor. Unless Trek really are looking to do a Cannondale when Radio shack drop out at the year end.

Or maybe a US firm isn't keen to be associated with a team once home to Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel.

Trek are doing a cannondale, was announced a few weeks back

http://road.cc/content/news/84896-trek-set-take-over-radioshack-leopard-...

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Simon_MacMichael [2449 posts] 2 years ago
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edf242 wrote:

Trek are doing a cannondale, was announced a few weeks back

http://road.cc/content/news/84896-trek-set-take-over-radioshack-leopard-...

Nope, that article clearly states (and reinforces throughout) that it is based on press reports in Luxembourg, there's been no official announcement.

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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Nice kit.

For more indepth and critical analysis of world cycling like this - stay tuned.

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pedalpowerDC [334 posts] 2 years ago
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Green and white is kinda Argos-y. Did wee run out of colors, not that there isn't a good amount of overlap in the peloton anyway.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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Super Domestique wrote:

I think Trek will 'do a Cannondale' tbh.

As another point the Blanco kit looked better!

Hopefully there will be a job lot of it somewhere which is about to go cheap.

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3cylinder [95 posts] 2 years ago
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I like that kit. Very simple and all the better for it.

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 2 years ago
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3cylinder wrote:

I like that kit. Very simple and all the better for it.

+1. One of my favourite kits of the season, up there with IAM & Team Colombia.

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scottytaz [12 posts] 2 years ago
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i preferred the blanco kit myself

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mattsccm [330 posts] 2 years ago
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Nah. The Blanco kit looked like something my mum would buy me from Lidl.

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CornishSprinter [26 posts] 2 years ago
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That kit is nice. Very, very nice.