2015 sponsor round-up: Who’s riding what
As 2014 winds down, several major ProTeams will be changing equipment sponsors for the coming season
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Changes to sponsorship are formally announced on January 1, when old contracts expire and new ones take effect. But a bit of digging unearths plenty of 2015 sponsor information.
VeloNews has confirmed that Ag2r-La Mondiale, formerly a Campagnolo-sponsored squad, will move to SRAM drivetrains for 2015. Ag2r will be SRAM’s only UCI ProTeam in 2015, down from a peak of eight teams in 2012. The team will also use wheels from SRAM subsidiary Zipp.
The Ag2r move is the lone coup for SRAM, which will lose the Tinkoff-Saxo squad in addition to its powerhouse classics team, Etixx-Quick-Step (formerly Omega Pharma-Quick Step). Etixx is also switching to Roval wheels, away from Zipp, as is Tinkoff-Saxo. Tinkoff owner Oleg Tinkov Tweeted the drivetrain news in September, along with an announcement that the team had signed on with Specialized for another two years. Roval is a house brand of Specialized.
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Campagnolo will continue to sponsor Lotto-Soudal (formerly Lotto-Belisol), Movistar, Europcar, and defending Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali’s Astana team. Campagnolo will also sponsor Lotto-Soudal and Movistar with its wheels, and subsidiary Fulcrum will sponsor Lampre-Merida.
Shimano will continue its numerical domination of the UCI WorldTour, retaining most of its major teams, including Sky, Cannondale-Garmin, and BMC Racing. Giant-Alpecin will stick with Shimano as well, despite dropping the brand from its name (Giant-Shimano). Giant, BMC, and Sky work very closely with Shimano, and use wheels and components from the Japanese company’s PRO brand as well.
The merger of Cannondale and Garmin will see select sponsors make the transition to the new team. It appears that the old Cannondale squad’s partnership with FSA has at least partially dissolved; the new squad will ride Mavic wheels, rather than those from FSA’s Vision brand. One source indicated that Rotor will provide cranksets, as it has for the Garmin squad for years.
The revamped Cannondale squad will also be moving to Mavic footwear, albeit slowly. Mavic will not force the entire team into its bright yellow shoes on January 1, but rather will allow riders to make the swap at their own pace, according to a source who has been briefed on the partnership. Some team riders, like Dan Martin, used Mavic shoes during the 2014 season.
Mavic will also provide wheels for Katusha, as it did in 2014.
2015 will see more diversity in frame suppliers (14 different brands), less diversity in drivetrain suppliers (Shimano dominates), and more diversity in wheel sponsors (9 different brands, including the introduction of Roval/Specialized). Softgoods continue to be the only place where smaller companies can consistently make their presence felt at the WorldTour level, a reflection of the cash required to make the move to the big leagues.
Logan VonBokel contributed reporting to this story from Fort Collins, CO.