Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf is reporting that the American consumer electronics manufacturer Belkin has signed a two and a half year sponsorship deal with Team Blanco. After losing their long time sponsor Rabobank last fall the dutch team has been looking for a new sponsor to keep the 30 year old team alive.
On Saturday, June 29th in Corsica, Belkin will be presented on the Dutch team’s jerseys in the 100th Tour de France. The team has won 13 races this year and sits 12th in the UCI World Tour rankings.
Blanco is the former Rabobank Pro Cycling team. After almost 20 years of support of men’s pro cycling, Robobank announced it was ending its name sponsorship at the time of the Lance Armstrong reasoned decision last fall in response to the negative impact of the doping scandals surrounding the sport. This year’s budget is still being paid by Rabobank, and 18 riders are on contract through 2014. The team’s UCI WorldTour licence runs through 2014, but a new sponsor is necessary to keep the team running past that.
It remains to be seen how the mix of the team nationalities will be impacted with Belkin being an American company. The new sponsorship goes until the end of 2015. The team’s yearly budget is said to be 14-15 million Euro per year.