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by Shane Stokes
September 30, 2014
The future of the current Belkin Pro Cycling team has been guaranteed with the announcement that a letter of intent announced at the end of July has now translated into a binding contract, bringing two new sponsors on board.
The WorldTour team has inked a deal with the Dutch national lottery De Lotto and the BrandLoyalty company, with the terms of agreement putting a two year partnership in place. The backing will fund both the cycling team plus the current BrandLoyalty speed skating team, and both will be known as TeamLottoNL.
The arrangement marks the first time in Dutch sporting history that cycling and speed skating have been linked in such a fashion; according to those behind the squads, the sponsorship backing will also coincide with a shared sporting, financial and commercial structure.
“Thanks to the initial support of ‘De Lotto’ and BrandLoyalty we can keep developing our vision, which is to build a new future for cycling under the motto #RideTheFuture,” said the cycling team’s general manager Richard Plugge on Monday. “The cooperation with Jac Orie’s speed skating team ensures that we have one team, with talents who will make their presence felt throughout the year. Right now we are still looking for a second title sponsor.”
The team had a solid season, with its results including Bauke Mollema’s tenth overall in the Tour de France, second in the Clasica San Sebastian plus third overall in both the Tour of Norway and the Tour de Suisse, Sep Vanmarcke’s stage win in the Tour of Norway plus top four finishes in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and Gent Wevelgem, Lars Boom’s Tour de France stage victory, Laurens Ten Dam’s ninth overall in the same race, Wilco Keldermann’s fourth overall in the Critérium du Dauphiné and seventh in the Giro d’Italia and a smattering of victories by Theo Bos, including the overall classification in the World Ports Classic.
De Lotto Marketing Director Arno de Jong said the company was committed to the project: “We are proud for ‘De Lotto’ to be the title sponsor and name giver of Holland’s first combined cycling and speed skating team, a ‘unique thing’ in the Dutch world of sports,” he said.
“Combining these two Dutch sports in one team fits us, ‘De Lotto’ connects sports and athletes.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the speed skaters will don their new team strip at the national championsips at the end of next month. The cyclists will do likewise early next year.