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Find out what all those title sponsors actually do for a living. Some are a little... unexpected

The names of the pro teams are part of the language of cycling, but what the title sponsors actually do is sometimes a mystery to most of us. Okay, we all know that Sky is a telecommunications/TV company and BMC Racing Team doesn’t leave much room for confusion, but some of the sponsors are a little more obscure. Here are some of the most interesting from the top levels of the sport.

Bora–Hansgrohe 

Peter Sagan Tour de France 2017 - 1.jpg

Peter Sagan Tour de France 2017 - 1.jpg

Bora makes hobs that draw cooking vapours and smells away before they can spread around your house, hence all the videos of world champion Peter Sagan cooking that have appeared on social media over the past few months. To be fair, he does them well in a Blue Peter kind of way. 

For the record, fellow title sponsor Hansgrohe makes taps, sinks, showers and stuff like that, if you were wondering.

Trek-Segafredo 

Trek-Segafredo.jpg

Trek-Segafredo.jpg

The Segafredo half of Trek-Segafredo refers to an Italian coffee brand. It’s no surprise to find coffee featuring among the World Tour team sponsors, caffeine being about as central to cycling as shaved legs and Lycra. It always has been. You might well know, for example, that the Faema name which was emblazoned across Eddy Merckx’s chest for a large part of his career is a brand of coffee machine.

Team Katusha-Alpecin

Tony_Martin 2.jpg

Tony_Martin 2.jpg

We all know by now that Alpecin is a caffeine shampoo (more caffeine in cycling!) because we’ve all seen the “German engineering for your hair” ads. 

Katusha coffee - 1 (1).jpg

Katusha coffee - 1 (1).jpg

Katusha started with the team and has since expanded into clothing and travel. Katusha also makes an excellent cup of coffee (honestly) at its pop-up café. 

Lotto-Soudal

Greipel 2017 (1).jpg

Greipel 2017 (1).jpg

Soudal makes adhesives. 300ml of its white Decorator’s Caulk will cost you just 98p from B&Q.

Mapei, a big name in cycling in the 1990s and early 2000s, is also well represented in your local DIY store thanks to a range that covers a similar area.

Oh, and vaguely related, there’s Quick-Step flooring, of course.

Mitchelton-Scott

Mitchelton-Scott.jpg

Mitchelton-Scott.jpg

The Mitchelton bit of Mitchelton-Scott is a wine-maker in the Australian state of Victoria. Scott makes bikes, as well as gear for motorsports and winter sports.

Groupama - FDJ

Groupama-FDJ team (Courtesy Groupama).jpg

Groupama-FDJ team (Courtesy Groupama).jpg

The team run by double Paris-Roubaix winner Marc Madiot (far left, above) got a substantial cash injection for 2018 when French-based insurance company Groupama came on board as a sponsor

FDJ stands for Francaise des Jeux (which roughly translates as ‘French Games’) which is the operator of France's national lottery. No prizes for working out that Lotto-Soudal and LottoNL-Jumbo are also linked to lotteries. Jumbo, by the way, is a supermarket chain in the Netherlands. 

Astana

Astana logo.svg_.jpg

Astana logo.svg_.jpg

Astana Pro Team is sponsored by a group of state-owned companies from Kazakhstan and is named after its capital city. Fun fact: Astana is the second coldest capital city in the world after Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, despite sitting at roughly the same latitude as London. True. You can impress your friends with that one, if your friends are easily impressed.

Movistar

Movistar Jesus_Herrada 2017 (1).jpg

Movistar Jesus_Herrada 2017 (1).jpg

This one is pretty well known; Movistar is a big Spanish mobile phone and broadband operator owned by Telefónica, the company behind O2.

Cofidis

orbea orca aero cofidis18.jpg

orbea orca aero cofidis18.jpg

Cofidis is properly called Cofidis Solutions Crédits, and you don’t need to be fluent in French to work out that the company specialises in consumer credit. Finance is well represented in the pro peloton: AG2R La Mondiale provides life insurance and pensions while Fortuneo from the Fortuneo-Oscaro Pro Continental team is an online bank. Oscaro, on the other hand, sells car parts.

Team Sunweb

Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 17 - da Tirano a Canazei (Val di Fassa) -  219 km ( 136 miglia ).jpg

Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione - Tappa 17 - da Tirano a Canazei (Val di Fassa) - 219 km ( 136 miglia ).jpg

Sunweb is a holiday company while Rompoot, co-sponsor of Pro Continental Team Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij, runs holiday parks.​ You can probably have a good guess at what Nederlandse Loterij is.

Nippo-Vini Fantini

Vini Fantini.jpg

Vini Fantini.jpg

Nippo is a giant in the Japanese construction industry while Vini Fantini is an Italian winery. 

Vérandas Willems-Crelan

Vérandas Willems-Crelan.jpg

Vérandas Willems-Crelan.jpg

Belgium's Verandas Willems is exactly what it sounds like: a company that specialises in verandas and extensions. Crelan used to be known as Landbouwkrediet and is a Belgian bank. The team has a cyclo-cross squad that's co-sponsored by Charles, a Belgian food company.

Team Manzana Postobon

Manzana_Postobón_Team_logo.jpg

Manzana_Postobón_Team_logo.jpg

Colombia-based Pro Continental team Manzana Postobon takes the name of an apple flavoured soft drink. The drink is pink, hence the colour of the logo and kit.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

13 comments

Avatar
arckuk [86 posts] 8 months ago
7 likes

I like to kid myself that I'm predominantly immune to the pressures of advertising, but I took great delight earlier this year at buying some Soudal silicone seal earlier this year at Homebase. I think it might have been 50 p more than the other branded alternative, but it's what Andre Greipel would have wanted me to do. Having said that, I never felt good with Sky taking over my previous broadband supplier, and was happy to ditch them at the first opportunity. Perhaps it was just familiarity breeding contempt, but if given a choice, I'd definitely go for a Quick-Step floor.

Avatar
kil0ran [924 posts] 8 months ago
2 likes

I've got a retro San Pellegrino shirt from Prendas and have taken to drinking their Limonata at my regular cafe stop so influence clearly continues long after the sponsorship ends. 

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nod [72 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Apple drink... pink... 

Avatar
John Stevenson [326 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

arckuk wrote:

given a choice, I'd definitely go for a Quick-Step floor.

Over the years you've had quite the choice of flooring makers among cycling sponsors.

Berry Floor "presented" the US Postal team (whatever "presented" is supposed to mean).

Domo is a Belgian carpet manufacturer

Ariostea makes floor tiles

As Cras or Collstrop, Belgian wood-products company Cras group has sponsored teams, though it's not known if any riders were ever supplied with their parquet flooring

And of course if you wanted a resin floor, then the mighty Mapei is your go-to suppier

Clearly, there's something about running a flooring company that makes people want to sponsor cycling teams

Avatar
Rapha Nadal [847 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

Those old Domo-Farm Frites Merckx bikes were things of beauty.

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nniff [247 posts] 8 months ago
1 like
John Stevenson wrote:
arckuk wrote:

given a choice, I'd definitely go for a Quick-Step floor.

Clearly, there's something about running a flooring company that makes people want to sponsor cycling teams

 

Perhaps if you were to find oneself inadvertently sponsoring a chemically-enhanced team, the floor is as low as you can get and is therefore safe ground......  ;o)

Avatar
rowes [103 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

I went for a HTC phone a few years ago for obvious reasons.

Avatar
Simon E [3338 posts] 8 months ago
2 likes

Lampre is an Italian industrial firm supplying hot-rolled steel pre-coated with a PVC film, according to http://www.bikeraceinfo.com/riderhistories/sponsors-directory.html

U.S. Postal must have done well out of a certain Texan's Tour wins while  brands like Carrera jeans and Mercatone Uno, an Italian supermarket chain, have also become famous worldwide. I had never heard of HTC before they sponsored Cavendish & co. but would subsequently have considered that brand if I was in the market for a mobile phone. If I was buying an espresso machine Rocket would be the first brand I'd consider (although I can't even remember who they sponsored).
Vacansoleil is a holiday company while co-sponsor DCM soil company.

Companies come and go, just look at the rollercoaster of Vaughters' Slipstream / Garmin / Cannondale gang funding. Sunweb used to be Skil-Shimano, briefly 1t4i then Argos-Shimano and Giant-Alpecin.

Apparently the AnPost-Chain Reaction team run by Sean Kelly & Kurt Bogearts haven't been able to secure a title sponsor after the Irish postal service didn't renew for 2018 after 10 years of support. It will also no longer sponsor the Rás and the Rás na mBan.

More about sponsors by INRNG - http://inrng.com/2017/01/pro-team-sponsors-2017-world-tour/

Avatar
Ratfink [200 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

It was a while before i found out Lotto wasn't the trainers i assumed it was.

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Steve Cooper [17 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

I do my bit for the Lotto Soudal team by using their expanding foam filler.

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StewartM [16 posts] 8 months ago
1 like
Steve Cooper wrote:

I do my bit for the Lotto Soudal team by using their expanding foam filler.

 

Darn, I just bought some foam filler the other day and didn't think to look for Soudal brand. Would have been the closest I came to buying a pair of Hanseno shoes.

Avatar
kil0ran [924 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Just wish Soudal (or Lotto) would end their sponsorship so I could  buy the team kit, best one in the peloton to my eyes.

Avatar
don simon [2327 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

Good business for building suppliers, plenty of jollies for the architects and consultants where they can meet the teams. It's not about awareness from the public, more about being able to wine and dine specifiers, they are worth more tha you or I.

Not bad for the sponsors themselves either as the marketing director for Movistar had signed pictures from sporting heroes, from all sorts of sporting disciplines all over his office. The odd VIP tickets came from there too.