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Scott Bicycles announced Friday that the firm has inked a deal to become the bike sponsor of the U.S.-based Columbia team.
The news comes just two days after the Idaho-based bicycle company announced that it was ending its support of the former Saunier-Duval team, which has struggled since the expulsion of star rider Ricardo Riccò from the Tour de France, after testing positive for EPO.
In a press release issued Friday, the company cited the fact Columbia has “set a new standard in anti-doping measures” in signing on as a sponsor. It is an issue important to a company that has built its sponsorship program around a team able to ride the entire UCI/ASO calendar next year.
Company spokesman Adrian Montgomery said earlier in the week that part of the decision to end sponsorship of the Scott-American Beef team was that it appeared unlikely to be allowed to ride in any of next year’s grand tours after the Riccò positive.
Columbia will ride the 790-gram Addict frames on the road and the new Plasma2 for TT.
“This was a very important decision for Scott and we are proud to join forces with a successful team like Columbia,” remarked Pascal Ducrot, vice president of Scott Sports. “The fact that the team is U.S. and European based and includes top level riders from 17 countries around the globe fits our distribution and marketing strategy perfectly. The team works closely with technical sponsors and this allows us to bring new and innovative products not only to athletes but also to consumers. The chemistry between Scott and team manager Bob Stapleton was there from the beginning and we are confident that this step will be beneficial for both of us”
“We are excited about our new partnership with Scott,” said Team Columbia owner Bob Stapleton. “We share the same goals in providing our athletes with the best tools and technology available. We are committed to working closely with SCOTT to develop outstanding products for professional athletes and enthusiasts.”
Montgomery hinted at two possible prototypes for the coming season, one being a specific classics bike and the other being an aerodynamically tuned road bike. Scott built Saunier Duval’s Andrea Tafi a custom CR1 bike for the 2005 classic season with more tire clearance and slightly longer chainstays.
“Because we’re going to be more of a player in the spring classics we might have to move some deadlines up from where we initially had them set,” said Montgomery. “We’re going to start pushing [road bike development] hard again for 2010.”