There is a strong rumour swirling around the internet that Castelli will replace Rapha as the new Team Sky clothing sponsor in 2017. An announcement could be made in days if a teaser video on Team Sky’s Twitter feed is anything to go by.
The rumour is being fuelled by several factors. First, we know Rapha won’t be supplying the team with clothing beyond the end of 2016 because the London-based company announced the end of its four-year deal back in 2015, which would have provided Team Sky with plenty of time to line up a new clothing sponsor.
Secondly, just this week Swedish company POC confirmed it has signed a three-year deal with Cannondale-Drapac to replace Castelli as clothing sponsor (the new team kit will be unveiled at the Rouleur Classic this week) which leaves the Italian clothing company without a WorldTour team in 2017. POC was already supplying the Cannondale team with helmets, but it'll now also supply jerseys and shorts.
Any brand wanting to be involved with Team Sky needs deep pockets. Castelli would surely be able to meet the financial commitment necessary to be involved with the most well-funded team in professional cycling. The inrng blog, in its detailed analysis of the Team Sky finances, revealed the “performance sponsorship revenue of the team (from the likes of Pinarello, Shimano etc) to be £2.9 million in 2015, but how much of that is contributed by Rapha we simply don’t know.
Castelli is also a company at the cutting edge of fabric and clothing design which will appease Sky’s quest for ever smaller marginal gains. We've seen Rapha's Pro Team range expand hugely in the time it has been involved with the team and it has benefited from arguably the most demanding team in the peloton. It could be a match made in heaven.
Interestingly, when we ran a poll at the end of last year, most votes came in for Assos (34.54%) to replace Rapha as Team Sky sponsor. Castelli was second with 18.5% of the votes.
Anyhoo, it's all speculation at the moment. But what do you think? Would you be happy to see Team Sky wearing Castelli next year?
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.