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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.
As we cross over the midway point of the week, the headlines from the racing world are full of team sponsorship updates.
The good news of the day comes from the Bigla-Katusha team, which has found a new sponsor that will keep the team afloat after a stretch of uncertainty. French clothing brand Paule Ka is stepping in to save the team, and will apparently be the squad’s sponsor all the way through 2024.
Meanwhile, there’s the CCC team, which is looking for a new sponsor to replace CCC. Jim Ochowicz told reporters on Wednesday that he does not yet have anything concrete, but he is “optimistic” and currently talking to multiple potential partners.
And then there’s Mitchelton-Scott, which recently announced that it was becoming Team Manuela Fundación while leaving several questions still unanswered. That remains the case for now; longtime team owner Gerry Ryan said in an interview that he still owns the team, but Manuela Fundación’s director of sports Emilio Rodríguez said that his organization was expecting things would play out differently.
Read on for more …
| French fashion brand Paule Ka steps in to save Bigla-Katusha
Paule Ka, a French clothing company, will take over as the “main sponsor” of the Bigla-Katusha team, the squad announced on Wednesday.
The long-running team has faced an uncertain future since it emerged a few months ago that neither of its title sponsors were upholding their financial commitments, but the arrival of Paule Ka seems to secure the organization’s future now. In a press release, the team said that Paule Ka will officially take the reins on July 1, and the squad will apparently seek a WorldTour upgrade next season.
What’s more, Paule Ka is set to sponsor the team all the way through the 2024 season, a lengthy arrangement for a bike racing team even during less uncertain times.
| Ochowicz on replacing CCC: ‘We have about half a dozen discussions going on’
CCC team manager Jim Ochowicz provided a status update on the squad’s search for a new sponsor to replace CCC in a video press conference on Wednesday. While the team does not yet have any concrete arrangements in place, Ochowicz said that he was “optimistic” and noted that there were several potential partners showing interest.
“At the moment I would say we have about half a dozen discussions going on with potential sponsors,” Ochowicz said (although he would not go into detail on who those companies might be). “At the end of the day, you can’t take anything to the bank until you get a signature on a document that confirms commitments. We do not have that at the moment. We are talking to a lot of people.”
| More uncertainty over Mitchelton-Scott/Manuela Fundación situation
Five days on from Mitchelton-Scott’s initial announcement that it was becoming Team Manuela Fundación, several question marks remain surrounding the arrangement, and recent interviews given by team owner Gerry Ryan and Manuela Fundación head of sports Emilio Rodríguez only raised further questions.
Over the past few days, many have wondered whether Ryan would retain ownership of the team as it transitioned to its new title sponsor. Speaking to RIDE Media this week, Ryan said that “there’s certainly no ownership changes at this stage.” He did not, however, expressly deny the possibility of a future shift.
Meanwhile, Manuela Fundación’s head of sports Emilio Rodríguez has told Spanish news agency EFE that Manuela Fundación came on board “to be owners, not just a sponsor.” Rodríguez said that that aspect of the arrangement had already been agreed upon.
In other words, uncertainty remains at Mitchelton-Scott/Manuela Fundación. As ever, we’ll keep an eye on the story as it continues to develop.
| Terpstra out for 10 to 12 weeks after crash
After crashing heavily during a training ride this week and suffering multiple injuries, Niki Terpstra is expected to miss 10 to 12 weeks.
“He is suffering from head trauma, a broken collarbone, and a back contusion, and a collapsed lung requiring drainage,” said Total-Direct Energie team doctor Hubert Long. “He is still in intensive care but he can go home in two or three days. For this type of significant trauma, the period of unavailability is 10 to 12 weeks.”
| SBT GRVL launches SBT VRTL
While the SBT GRVL race has been called off for 2020, organizers have launched an open ride event for Sunday, August 16, “with participants choosing where, when and how long to ride.”
Riders will cover on one of four distances – green (37 miles), red (64 miles), blue (103 miles), or black (144 miles) – to be completed either inside or outside. Riders are free to take on a local route they know or a suggested route from the SBT GRVL team in one of 34 cities in the United States, to be unveiled in July.
| Happy birthday to …
Eddy Merckx is 75! All the best to the 11-time Grand Tour winner, 19-time Monument winner, three-time world road champion, and many-time winner of so many other races there isn’t enough room in the Daily News Digest to catalog them all.
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Today’s featured image of Eddy Merckx celebrating a Milan-San Remo victory comes from Cor Vos.