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Pro Team Sponsors

There are 22 teams in the Tour de France with a variety of sponsors from household goods to governments. Here’s a closer look, presented in the start list order…

Jumbo-Visma (Netherlands) is a Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo – say Yumbo – and Visma, a Norwegian IT services company. Jumbo is family-owned, growing fast across the Netherlands to become one of the leading food retailers and has been expanding into Belgium which is why Wout van Aert’s been so useful to them. Jumbo needed a payroll services company and picked Visma and it was through this deal that the team co-sponsorship came about. Jumbo’s called an end to the deal but their notice still means there’s funding until the end of next yearf and talk that Saudi Arabia could be the new backer.

  • Goes back to 1984 and the Kwantum team then Superconfex, Buckler, Wordperfect, Rabobank, Belkin and LottoNL

UAE-Team Emirates (UAE flag, legally run out of Switzerland) is backed by the United Arab Emirates, a federation of kingdoms with Abu Dhabi as the capital, the oil and gas rich state. Once upon a time the Lampre team, they were supposed to have a Chinese replacement sponsor but this vanished and at the last minute a real estate Sheikh from the UAE stepped in. With success the team has become more central to the ruling family, many sponsors on the jersey are linked to Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, national security advisor and sports fan, currently brother of the UAE president and “TBZ” is on the up in the region. They ride Colnago bikes which have an Italian heritage but the company is now owned by Chimera, one of the many companies chaired by TBZ.

  • The team can be traced back to 1990 when it was Colnago-Lampre

Ineos Grenadiers (Great Britain) is a petrochemicals company that manufactures and supplies the chemicals to make the plastics that surround us and it’s grown so big it’s now drilling for oil and gas for raw materials and energy to power its chemical plants. It’s a private firm owned by James “Jim” Ratcliffe, Britain’s third richest person who left a career at oil major BP to buy up unloved chemical factories. He bought the cycling team for fun and also has a sailing team, owns French football club OGC Nice, is a sponsor and part owner of the Mercedes Formula 1 team and is currently bidding for Manchester United. Why? Because he can, and they help with dealmaking too, VIP opportunities galore. The Grenadiers name is a side project to produce a genuine utility vehicle but comes with a premium price tag so you won’t see it on many farms; the team doesn’t use it either.

  • The team began in 2010 as Team Sky and was built on the back of Team GB’s success on the road and track

Groupama-FDJ (France) is 50-50 joint venture owned by its two sponsors. If you want to sound très French then pronounce it Groupama-FDG. Groupama is a giant mutual insurance company which means policy holders own the company, it’s not quite a non-profit but you get the picture. The rural logo hints at the original name Groupe des Assurances Mutuelles Agricoles. FDJ is short for La Française des Jeux. It’s the French lottery which is now privatised but has committed to fund both the men’s and women’s teams for several years so no change on the horizon. The team is quintessentially French right down to the tricolore kit but look to them to add some more foreign signings soon. The team doesn’t have a women’s team but it does share FDJ and also bike sponsor Lapierre with FDJ-Suez, interestingly the women’s team is packed with blue chip corporate sponsors like Suez, France’s Carte Bleue (a Gallic version of Visa/Mastercard) and so on, a sign how women’s cycling is on the up with a big lift from the Tour Féminin.

  • The team began in 1997 and has kept the same sponsor all along; in 2012 it was FDJ-BigMat and then Groupama took a 50% share for 2018

EF Education-Easypost (USA) is owned by EF Education First, a language education business that was started in Sweden and now HQ’d in Switzerland, presumably for tax rather than the mountain air. EF Education First sounds like a pleonasm but loyal readers will know the initials EF actually stand for Europeiska Ferieskolan, Swedish for “European Holiday Schools” because this is what the founder Bertil Hult named his venture and it’s grown to a big business making the Hult family billionaires. The team’s seemingly changed name every year but this year has seen continuity from last thanks to Easypost, a company ships small goods and packets for e-commerce.

  • The team began as a junior development team in 2003, became a pro team in 2007

Soudal-Quick-Step (Belgium, Luxembourg) has seen Belgian chemicals company Soudal switch teams over the winter, the company owner attracted by the prospect of backing Remco Evenepoel, an unsticky move for a company that normally markets how strong its adhesives are, it makes glue for building sites, think tile adhesives and that sort of thing. Quick-Step may seem quintessentially Flemish but it belongs to a in Amsterdam… Amsterdam, New York called Mohawk Industries, a giant supplier of commercial and residential flooring. The team vibes construction site sponsors which part explains the blue overalls team kit – workers in Europe often wear blue dungarees – is owned by Zdeněk Bakala, a Czech billionaire and benefactor who’s a keen cyclist and he has helped to top up the budget over the years.

  • Quick Step’s sponsorship began in 2003 but the team is an assembly of mergers over the years and can be traced back to the 1990s

Bahrain Victorious (Bahrain) is backed by the oil-rich island in the Middle East. It’s harsh regime that sits 171st of the press freedom index and scores as badly for other measures of openness and freedoms but this blogger better say nice things about because you can get jailed for tweeting criticism. It’s a case study in “sportwashing”, using sport to present a dynamic image of the sponsor all while not ever washing anything away, more a power play to plant a flag. It’s also personal project led by a Bahrain prince who likes his cycling, triathlon and more.

  • Started in 2017

Bora-Hansgrohe (Germany) is a German team sponsored by two Mittelstand manufacturers. Bora makes kitchen extractor fans with the selling point that the fans are located beside the cooking hob rather than above The firm has experienced prodigious growth since it started sponsoring a team and has a cycling-mad boss, he even hired Les Amis de Paris-Roubaix, the group that protects the pavé, to clay cobbles on the driveway of the new corporate HQ. Hansgrohe make plumbing parts like taps and shower heads and if they have a Germany history since being founded by Herr Hans Grohe in 1901 are these days majority owned by US conglomerate Masco. Don’t confuse them with arch rival Grohe, the plumbing version of Adidas vs Puma.

  • The team started in 2010 as Team NetApp

Lidl-Trek (USA, Belgium) is the brand new combination of Germany discount supermarket Lidl and US bike brand Trek, with Lidl replacing coffee firm Segafredo. The German retailer is expanding around the world, opening up new shops in the US these days with an established presence across Europe and this means the new sponsor wants riders from around the world. The new retail sponsorship means more money and the squad is going on a shopping spree in the transfer market as you read this. It’s worth saying aloud that this is one of the few big semi-global consumer-facing companies to come and sponsor a team.

  • Began in 2011 as Leopard-Trek

Ag2r Citroën (France) features French social insurance company Ag2r La Mondiale, which offers top-up health insurance and pension plans to savers in France. A rival to Groupama, it’s also mutually-owned and has grown via mergers to become one of France’s biggest insurance companies although the kind that if they didn’t sponsor a team maybe nobody would have heard of it. The co-sponsor Citroën, the car manufacturer that is now a brand within Stellantis, one of those companies named by an agency, that also owns Opel, Dodge, Maserati, Fiat and Chrysler among other brands. It’s a big sponsor that has helped the team up the budget but they blew a chunk of it on good but ageing riders on the decline and are now shopping for riders to replace the likes of Greg Van Avermaet.

  • Ag2r is a title sponsor since 2000 and the team was founded in 1992 as Chazal

Alpecin-Deceuninck (Belgium) are newly promoted in the World Tour. Alpecin is a shampoo brand from Germany with caffeine in it (reviewed on this blog) and you wonder if they’re forbidden from signing a balding rider. Oddly for a team that gets giant exposure in France, the shampoo’s not for sale in supermarkets nor pharmacies in France. Continuing the Belgian construction site theme, Deceuninck’s a Belgian maker of PVC windows and doors, a company worth €315 million on the Euronext stock exchange.

  • It began as a cyclo-cross team in 2009

Intermarché-Circus-Wanty (Belgium) is sponsored by Intermarché, a supermarket group from Brittany in France but the sponsorship deal is with the Belgian subsidiary rather than the parent company which is odd given they’re racing around France now, you’d think the HQ could chip in as well. Circus is a bookmaker and casino in Belgium and Wanty does civil engineering, think building bridges or specialist demolition projects. Are you a member of a cycling club? If so, could it ride the Tour de France in the future? Unlikely but this team began out of a tiny local cycling club, the VC Ath, in the 1970s and has climbed up the rungs, becoming a regional team, then a national U23 team, then a UCI Continental and now it’s in the World Tour and racing around France this month.

  • It went pro in 2011 as Willems Veranda-Accent

Cofidis (France) is a French consumer lending company which has now expanded to offering loans in Spain, Italy and central Europe making the cycling team a useful marketing tool. It’s aimed at those needing cash at the lower end of the market, for all the “cycling is the new golf” in the US, UK and Australia, in France and other core nations it’s cycling is still a working class demographic and so Cofidis can reach its target market. They have a paracycling team and a women’s team as well. Cofidis is now part of the Crédit Mutuel financial group which also owns online bank Arkéa, more of which soon.

  • A continuous presence since 1997

Movistar (Spain) is a mobile telecoms operator that belongs to Telefonica with activities in Spain and Latin America and has a sub brand in O2 which is used in Spain but also Germany, the UK and other markets. They’ve signed a small agreement with the Saudi Arabia cycling federation to “share knowledge” with the unspoken goal of taking on sponsorship from the kingdom but as reported by Relevo, the “speed is a little slower than we’d sometimes like”. Business deals with Saudi Arabia can take time and unlike Jumbo-Visma the team can’t wow the sponsors in the same way, it’s not the same franchise.

  • This is the longest surviving team in the peloton with a lineage going back to 1980 and the Reynolds team with José Miguel Echavarri at the helm for most of the time before handing over to Eusebio Unzué, and now his son Sebastian Unzué is picking up the reins

Team dsm-firmenich (Switzerland, Netherlands) DSM used to mean Dutch State Mines, a company founded in 1902 to extract coal from the Limburg region but it’s become a life sciences group that makes chemicals for vitamins as well as Dyneema, a type of plastic that is popular as material for sailing boats and used in lightweight cycling shoes too. It’s just merged with Swiss chemicals company Firmenich so the sponsor is two names but one company – based in Switzerland – and the team is seen as part of the marketing message, so much so that it’s getting a top up in cash to shop for new names which might alter the developmental vocation of the squad. Dutch telecoms provider Youfone is very visible on the kit, at times more than DSM, but just a co-sponsor.

  • A quiet story of growth that goes back to Shimano–Memory Corp in 2005 via Skil and Argos Oil

Israel-PremierTech (Israel) is backed by Israeli-Canadian real estate billionaire Sylvain Adam, a keen cyclist who recently migrated to Israel and has been spending his fortune to promote the country. You might play Velogames and spend an imaginary 100 credits, Adams does it with his cash although he used up a lot of budget to hire Chris Froome and the team got relegated and it’s now looking to change its image. PremierTech is a Canadian horticulture company that start out digging up and selling peat, today it sells fertiliser as well.

  • Adams bought the Katusha licence which bought Oleg Tinkov’s Tinkoff Credit systems team which began in 2006

Jayco-Al Ula (Australia, Switzerland) is backed by Gerry Ryan, one of Australia’s wealthiest people thanks to his Jayco caravan business – Australia’s largest vehicle manufacturer ever since Ford and GM/Opel pulled out – and canny investments along the way such as the Walking With Dinosaurs show. For years the team has been hunting for a commercial sponsorship deal to top up their Australian benefactor and they’ve got Al Ula, a tourist destination in Saudi Arabia.

  • Greenedge began in 2012 and has struggled to land a title sponsor, it’s had Orica and Scott along the way

Arkéa-Samsic (France) isn’t just a French team it’s a Breton team, with Arkéa being an online consumer banking brand inside the Crédit Mutuel group, the parent company of Cofidis too. Samsic is a recruitment agency also from Brittany but growing across Europe, it has operations in Italy for example which means the team likes to race in Italy too. Newly promoted to the World Tour after some crafty points-hunting in the past seasons, they’ve made the top tier but now seem to be wondering what to do, there’s talk of signing Arnaud Démare but he’ll be 32 soon and an improvement as their house sprinter but this is a team in need of a project. Samsic’s stepping down at the end of the year and the Breton team will get B&B Hotels on board, the fast-growing hotel operator returning to the sport.

  • The team began in 2005 as Bretagne–Jean Floc’h and under the patronage of Breton political bigwig Jean-Yves Le Drian, the former French foreign minister (2017-2022)

Lotto-Dstny (Belgium) is the longest continuous team sponsorship in pro cycling with the Belgian state lottery backing a team through various name changes over the years ever since 1985 and the national lottery makes them a national team in Belgian, with the need to recruit both Flemish and Walloon riders. Relegated last year, the fall didn’t stop them from getting Dstny on board, it’s a Belgian telecoms and communications company that now operates in several European countries and CEO Daan De Wever said he didn’t quite realise the team’s predicament at the time. He’s is an active sponsor who has been vocal in wanting more results from the deal but if he’s patient the team’s got a good pipeline of U23 talent.

  • The team goes back to 1985

Astana (Kazakhstan, Luxembourg) was the capital of Kazakhstan – it’s Kazakh for “capital city” – but the city was renamed Nur-Sultan in tribute to the country’s long term ruler Nursultan Nazarbayev. The Astana name has been consistent for years but the funding source being the team has changed, the country’s sovereign wealth fund backed the team but when rider wages became unpaid the Presidential Sports Club took over. But this was closed down last year and the Samruk Kazyna fund is back to bankrolling the team. Once one of the top teams in the sport, it’s budget has stayed flat while rivals have overtaken it and it’s becoming a bit a career graveyard, riders who join can struggle to get out.

  • Title sponsor since 2007 when the team was born out of the ashes of the Liberty Seguros team which was engulfed by Operation Puerto

Uno-X (Norway) is a new name in the Tour de France, a chain of fuel stations that’s pivoting to become a supplier of charging points for electric vehicles in Norway and Denmark too. There are several names on the kit like Uno-X, Reitan and Rema-1000 but they’re all under the same corporate umbrella of Reitan, a Norwegian conglomerate with activities in Denmark too but that’s it, the publicity this July and beyond is all about reaching the audiences there and paradoxically the more success Jonas Vinegaard has, the more their exposure rises in Denmark. The squad’s looking for a co-sponsor and given the rumours about the signings they’ve been making, must have found one. They’re an invitee team riding on a wildcard but look set to become a fixture given the strength of the squad.

  • Goes back to 2010 as third tier Conti outfit Team Ringeriks-Kraft and moved up to the second tier in 2020

TotalEnergies (France) is backed by French oil major Total, or TotalEnergies as it’s now called. The oil giant got into cycling by accident when it acquired Direct Energie, an alternative electricity supplier in France but has used the team as a vehicle to help with the rebranding from Total to TotalEnergies and the sponsor does everything from service stations to lubricants, alternative energy to drilling for oil and gas. The team’s heart is from the Vendée region and unlike its sponsors, very much a family business more than a multinational. The signing of Peter Sagan can be spun as beneficial for the way he helped inspire others but results-wise it’s a Total flop and the team need to rebuild and reinvest otherwise they’ll be a precarious position and could find themselves without an invitation to the Tour in the coming years which would be ruinous but if there’s a sponsor with cash to spare it’s TotalEnergies, current market value is €130 billion.

  • Born out of the Vendée-U team, the pro team began in 2000 as Bonjour and was Bouygues and Europcar along the way

Conclusion
There’s no single theme here, although if you want to build a home in northern France with some finance you could tap into a lot of the sponsors. Some sponsors are in it as a marketing project and want to influence your spending habits and wallet, others have less strict criteria. Some barely seem to have commercial purposes and marketing goals, there are benefactors and sugar-daddy sponsors in it for fun, and also nation states whether just Belgium and its state lottery, or Middle-Eastern countries hungry for recognition and trying to convert some of their petrodollars into soft power. It’s can be called sportswashing but there’s no lather, there’s no laundry, it’s almost the opposite where sponsors with dirty linen can drape this in public and everyone else has to deal with it.

Pro cycling as a “product” is complicated, with vastly different audience demographics from country to country which makes it an awkward sell for many consumer-facing brands, in one country it reaches high income professionals, it another it’s the other end of the scale.

Finally for all the big companies involved, the biggest sponsors in cycling aren’t at the Tour de France. At $450 billion United Healthcare might have a market capitalisation bigger than any of the companies named above combined, Novo Nordisk is similar too and both have teams but for now they’re side projects and second tier UCI Pro Teams rather than flagship sponsorship projects.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tovarishch Wednesday, 5 July 2023, 9:22 pm

    Are many of the old Willems management still at Wanty and do they still hold a grudge with Van Aert?

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 6 July 2023, 8:41 am

      It’s a different team and Wanty has more Walloon roots and also some import from when they bought the CCC team’s licence.

  • Brunnchen Wednesday, 5 July 2023, 10:45 pm

    Whilst Lidl are the title sponsor, Trek are the only ‘Factory team’ in the World Tour….

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 6 July 2023, 8:42 am

      Yes, the last hold out and the only bike company in the naming rights, eg no more “Bahrain-Merida”. It sounds like a retreat of the bike industry but it costs more than ever for a brand to sponsor a pro team, still a big commitment.

  • Chuffy Thursday, 6 July 2023, 12:08 am

    You mention sportswashing and the less than savoury reputation of some sponsors, like Bahrain. Do riders ever refuse offers on the basis of a sponsor they don’t like?

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 6 July 2023, 12:22 am

      It’s hard to know but unlikely. One of the refreshing things about Gino Mäder was that he’d talk about the dilemma he felt at times in riding for Bahrain, a handful of others might have similar feelings – I know of one, not sure they’ve said things on the record though – but won’t say it out loud.

    • TID Thursday, 6 July 2023, 1:14 pm

      I have direct experience of one of the top current riders doing this

  • Run van Run Thursday, 6 July 2023, 8:05 am

    Nice piece. And damn thats alot of oil, war banks and playfull men with thick wallets. I suppose cycling is in the same deep shit as any sport these days. Bahrain, UAE, Israel and soon Saudi with movistar. Snooker is talking about selling out big time to China.
    Are cyclists being asked about their team choices? Kristoff got some bad press when signing for UAE a few years back, and Haaland has faced question on signing for ManC.

    • MS Thursday, 6 July 2023, 8:40 am

      In at least one way, I would say that cycling is in even deeper shit, because they don’t just run around with a nationally owned airline’s logo on their chest or anything like that but represent these regimes in a much more explicit way.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 6 July 2023, 8:44 am

      Saudi Arabia announced the launch of a new sports fund yesterday but all the things they were saying about sport don’t fit with cycling as they want to buy assets, things to own and produce diverse income streams. Cycling teams aren’t this. But we can already see the sport is just used for publicity and branding, eg Al Ula.

      • Tovarishch Thursday, 6 July 2023, 1:45 pm

        François Thomazeau, yesterday, repeating the rumour that NEOM are the new JV sponsors.

        • Fra Saturday, 8 July 2023, 10:17 pm

          Oh, the silly plaything of MBS, built around a 200km long wall of glass?

          • Anonymous Monday, 10 July 2023, 1:17 pm

            Im sure, in the future it Will be remembered as an impressive failure of classical top-down culture.

  • MellowVelo Thursday, 6 July 2023, 9:06 am

    Is there any such thing as ‘clean money’? Somewhere along the line there is always going to be an accumulation at someone else’s expense.

    I always like to go through the sponsors and see whether I have got any of their stuff, and if so, is it a coincidence or a direct influence? Double Yes to the taps, and the salon floor ( very good it was too), and the glue. I suppose yes to Petrol though by default, rather walk than go in Radcliffe’s jeep, don’t play lotteries or need French financial products . I did look at the shampoo for DH, but it sounded rather violent. The only Citroen we have hired made quite an alarming clanking sound.

    The extractor is a bizarre concept, who wants to give up base cupboard and worktop space for an extractor? I think their popularity must be linked to the rise of kitchen ‘islands’ which don’t have any way of ceiling extractor without great air pipes dangling from the ceiling.

    Thinking about the behaviour of the state sponsors (with one exception ) would spoil my enjoyment of my mornings perusal of your excellent blog , so I won’t !

    • KevinK Monday, 10 July 2023, 2:36 pm

      “Somewhere along the line there is always going to be an accumulation at someone else’s expense.”

      Really? I know it’s become the default assumption for many people in the last few years, but it doesn’t even pass the most superficial scrutiny, else widespread economic growth would be impossible. Why is it people so readily believe things so easily disproven? Prosperity is clearly not a zero-sum game.

      • Monday Monday, 10 July 2023, 4:03 pm

        You don´t have to agree, but you should be able to grasp the concept: if someone´s piece of the cake grows disproportionally, it doesn´t matter that the cake is bigger and everyone´s piece is therefore bigger and at some point – depending on one´s understanding of where the limit of “a fair share” goes – one can well argue that what we see is accumulation at someone else´s expense.

        But the point I wish to make is that it is just as silly of me to think this is a proper place for this kind of discussion as it was of you 🙂

  • plurien Thursday, 6 July 2023, 10:16 am

    This article appearing now reminds me of a dear Great Aunt we used to visit en famille. She was a really good cook. Mealtimes would invariably end with so many desserts, cakes and sweet treats that even I would have to call a halt.
    Later, back at home I would wish for just one of those desserts as our table was not so opulent.
    Why, Mr INRNG you are spoiling us with these fancies now?! The months after Lombardia stretch long…

  • Tom J Thursday, 6 July 2023, 10:24 am

    Related to sportswashing, there is a lot of discussion at the moment in the UK about the all-pervasive influence of betting companies on football sponsorship, and the impact that problem gambling has on many of the people who are in football’s core demographic.

  • Anonymous Thursday, 6 July 2023, 10:53 am

    Why don’t Ineos have a womens team ? Womens sport in the UK has had a big upturn in popularity in recent years and I would have thought spending a fraction of the budget of the mens team would get some good positive publicity.

    • plurien Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:37 am

      Pauline Ferrand-Prevot rides for Ineos

      • Pablo Sunday, 9 July 2023, 6:59 am

        That’s hardly a team. The point stands, Ineos has the means to support a women’s team and thereby support equality

  • Tom Thursday, 6 July 2023, 1:06 pm

    Interesting overview. The whole set-up is bizarre and chaotic. Could we ever see a more stable team approach, where teams have a Brand that is stable, so they can build brand following. Then they get some sponsors and part of the broadcasting revenue? Sorta like football?

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 6 July 2023, 1:10 pm

      Some are stable, see Cofidis, Ag2r etc. But some companies want to get noticed and once they are, it’s job done, like an ad campaign that’s run its term.

      Cofidis is a good example, it’s became known in France but the company is now operating in nine countries in Europe and looking to grow in more so the team is helping to get the company’s name out there, precisely because of the value of naming rights.

      Broadcasting revenue? The teams did go big on the idea a decade ago but once they saw the numbers involved they went cold. But it’s an old story that won’t die. The short version is even if you used heroic assumptions where somehow the likes of ASO, RCS etc redistribute half their profits to teams owned by foreign states and billionaires it still wouldn’t alter team budgets much.

      More explained at http://inrng.com/2019/01/revenue-sharing-revisited/

    • maximflyer Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:20 am

      Hell no. I always liked cycling because there is less of team or nationality fanboyism than in other sports.

  • Paul J Thursday, 6 July 2023, 1:13 pm

    Inrng, you sure about UAE and its Colnago-Lampre heritage?

    Memoire du Cyclisme has Colnago-Lampre as a predecesor of Mapei-Quickstep (and hence today’s Quickstep-Soudal).

    Quickstep are quite a collection:
    – Elro (1979) – TVM – Farm Frites – Domo Farm Frites – Quickstep – Davitamon
    Mapei -GB + Panaria -> 1996 Mapei Bricobi, bring Lefevre together with Bebe Saronni

    – Mapei-Quickstep – some transfer / split off to Domo Farm Frites in ’09, with Lefevre going there, reconciled again in ’04 with Quickstep-Davitamon

    Mapia-GB from: GB – MG Boys Maglificio and Ariotea https://www.memoire-du-cyclisme.eu/pelotons/equipes.php?q=10689

    GB – MG Boys: Lefevre a DS member there, with De Vlaeminck, and that team goes back to Del Tongo which Bebe Saronni rode for, which goes back to Gis Gelati (Bebe and De Vlaeminck rode for) and SCIC (Bepe).

    Panaria https://www.memoire-du-cyclisme.eu/pelotons/equipes.php?q=12865
    Hoonved – Bottechia -> Malvor – Colnago-Lampre-Sopran – Lampre-Colnago – Lampre-Panaria

    Bebe gets his start here in Direction at Lampre-Colnago in ’92. Which merges with Mapei-GB in ’97. Bebe leaves as manger of that team to head Lampre-Daikin in ’99 (same sponsor as lineage of his previous team, but new team according to Memoire?), and Levefre becomes lead of Mapei. Bebe’s Lampre-Merida fizzles out in ’13 or so and bought by UAE.

    Seems basically Bebe and Levefre went seperate ways, but that it’s Lefevre’s Quickstep that is the successor of Colnago-Lampre in terms of team lineage from Memoire – even though Bepe took the sponsors to his new team? 🙂

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 6 July 2023, 1:17 pm

      That’s why I went for “traced back” as you can get back that far.

      They still sometimes look like the chaotic Lampre of old, just that they found a stash of gold bars.

      • Tovarishch Thursday, 6 July 2023, 1:54 pm

        🙂

    • Larry T Thursday, 6 July 2023, 7:43 pm

      Beppe. A nickname for Giuseppe.

      • Paul J Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:53 am

        Yeah, sorry, the great Beppe Saronni. World Champion, Giro winner, Milan-San Remo winner, great rival of Moser. Etc. The founder of the current UAE Emirates team – I assume he’s still involved in the background with them.

        Inrng mentions chaos in that team in its Lampre datys. Reading Dan Martin’s pandas book, that chaos evidently was still there in the UAE days too. 😉

        • Paul J Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:54 am

          Don’t know how I wrote ‘bebe’, I meant ‘Bepe’! – but it should be 2 p’s I guess. 😉 Thanks.

        • Paul J Friday, 7 July 2023, 11:00 am

          Note on Memoire. Memoire – in other cases at least – does track teams by the actual registration. Some of the team pages on there list the federation or UCI number.

          It doesn’t list the registration numbers for the various twisty turns and forks of the De Vlaeminck, Saronni, Levefre inter-mingled teams unfortunately. But, I would /assume/ that Memoire’s listing of Levefre’s Quickstep as the successor of Lampre-Colnago means that this was the case in terms of the official team paperwork with the appropriate federation – and Saronni’s Lampre-Daikin was a freshly registered team.

          So UAE Emirates are perhaps the successor in spirit and key personnel, but Levefre’s Quickstep the successor in terms of registration /perhaps/. Is what I would /assume/ based on the type of research Memoire has done for /other/ teams.

  • Tom J Thursday, 6 July 2023, 2:46 pm

    Arguably you could trace Jumbo- Visma back to 1973 and the TI Raleigh team. When that team split at the end of 1983, half the riders went to Kwantum as documented from 1984 onwards. The other half (including the manager Peter Post) formed Panasonic which lasted until 1992; then Novemail (93/94) after which the structure seems to have folded.

    • Paul J Friday, 7 July 2023, 11:12 am

      You could indeed. And when Novemail folded, its lead DS/manager, Theo de Rooy went over to Rabobank to become the main DS there – De Raas as manager.

  • Madvillain Thursday, 6 July 2023, 2:52 pm

    Reading this and becoming a big fan of Lidl Trek

  • Pablo Sunday, 9 July 2023, 7:08 am

    Great article, thanks INRNG. I love the sport, the colours, the landscapes, the tech, the effort – all beautiful elements. But some of the sponsors are very problematic, and the increasing injection of money from countries with poor human rights records is terribly complicated for the participants. There has to be a better model out there

    • KevinK Monday, 10 July 2023, 3:10 pm

      We look at popular, revenue-generating sports and assume there must be a model that can be applied to road cycling, without perhaps realizing that few sports generate revenue, and that sports that don’t generate revenue go extinct all the time (leading to survivorship bias as we look at the sporting landscape). In US colleges there is a clear line between revenue sports (football and men’s basketball) and non revenue sports (all the rest, including track and field, gymnastics, tennis, baseball, soccer, water polo, women’s basketball, etc., etc.). The non-revenue sports continue by tradition, and some less wealthy colleges and universities simply opt out of having intercollege sports because it’s unsustainable for them.

      Look at the list of Olympic sports from the first Olympics in 1900. A bunch are extinct. Of the many extant Olympic sports, most are sustained at the amateur/club level, or draw from college non-revenue sports, or continue via state sponsorship. My guess is that if the current professional road cycling model fell apart it would not be replaced by a different professional model, but become something like track cycling, cyclocross, and mountain biking – i.e., cease having a substantial professional aspect, with some relatively minor exceptions (like six-day races, cyclists with equipment sponsors, etc.).