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by Iain Treloar
November 14, 2019
Photography by Canyon
French Pro Continental team Arkéa-Samsic will be sponsored by Canyon Bicycles next season, Canyon has announced today. The team will ride the Canyon Ultimate in the mountains, the Aeroad on fast stages and the Speedmax in time trials. Canyon also released imagery of the 2020 team bike of Warren Barguil, which follows a rather fetching – and very French – tricolour theme to match Barguil’s current national championship.
Arkéa-Samsic has made a number of prominent signings for the upcoming season, chief among them Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España winner, Nairo Quintana, who made the move from Movistar.
At his new squad, Quintana will join forces with the team’s totemic French climber Warren Barguil in the mountains, with support from Diego Rosa (ex-Team Ineos). Also joining the squad is polarising sprinter Nacer Bouhanni (ex-Cofidis), who will add firepower in the sprints with Dan McLay (ex-EF Education First).
Roman Arnold, Founder and CEO of Canyon Bicycles, said “I can’t wait to start collaborating with Arkéa-Samsic, because they are a team who share our own singular focus – dedicating everything to achieving great things. With Warren Barguil, Nairo Quintana and Nacer Bouhanni, we’ve got a talented line-up for the coming season who will be bringing a huge depth of talent, experience and leadership to the road.”
With a stronger 2020 roster in the mix, Arkéa-Samsic applied – somewhat ambitiously, and ultimately unsuccessfully – for a WorldTour license for next season. Despite getting knocked back due to having banked inadequate points, the team seems well-placed to receive invites to many of the calendar’s most desirable races.
“Working together with [Canyon] only strengthens our status as a strong team with big ambitions for the future, and the desire to secure big results at the world’s biggest races,” said Emmanuel Hubert, Arkéa-Samsic’s general manager.
Arkéa-Samsic hasn’t always had a smooth relationship with its bike sponsors in the past, having made the unusual step of changing abruptly from Look to BH midway through the 2018 season, just weeks before the Tour de France. In the move to Canyon, the team will hope to find stability in a two year deal.
While at face value a change in bike sponsors for a second-tier team like Arkéa-Samsic may seem a fairly dry bit of news, in this particular example it’s actually quite interesting for the broader implications it may foreshadow.
Along with the newly-announced partnership with Arkéa-Samsic, Canyon is also an ongoing sponsor of Corendon-Circus, the team of Mathieu van der Poel. As such, two of the most prominent Pro Continental teams in the peloton will be riding the German brand’s bikes next season.
That introduces a couple of question marks, however, over Canyon’s continued sponsorship of its two 2019 WorldTour teams, Katusha-Alpecin and Movistar.
It’s already been rumoured that Canyon will be withdrawing its support for Katusha, who are merging with Israel Cycling Academy. Now, with Canyon having hitched its wagon to Nairo Quintana in his move to Arkéa-Samsic, there’s a flicker of doubt over whether Canyon will continue its sponsorship of Movistar – a partnership that has been in place since 2014.
As the off-season rapidly draws to an end, we’re sure to find out the answer to all these questions and more soon enough.