Thursday, October 20, 2011

GEOX Exits Cycling

GEOX, the primary sponsor of the GEOX-TMC team, has decided to exit cycling after one year.

Despite having signed Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov as team leaders the team was not selected in November, 2010, as as UCI ProTeam (formerly ProTour) for 2011, instead being named a UCI Professional Continental Team. At the time Mauro Gianetti, the manager of the Geox-TMC team, bitterly criticized the way the UCI had awarded ProTeam places for 2011 after his team missed out on one of the 18 slots. The decision meant the team could only hope that they would receive invitations to the major races rather then being guaranteed entry. The team did race in the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España as a wild card entry, it was not invited to the Tour de France.

The Vuelta a España was won by GEOX-TMC rider Juan Jose Cobo who renewed with the team for another year just last week. Cobo was optimistic about next year saying, "It’s still too soon to talk about our plans for next season. However in 2012 I’d like to take part in the Tour and get to this race in the best shape possible. The Tour has a unique appeal and it has always been the most important race. But it also means a lot to me to get back to my “home roads” for the Vuelta España, where I had a fantastic experience this year, the best in my career.”

Now, riders are left with trying to find another team after the period in which many of the transfers for the next season have already been negotiated. Cobo's situation is especially miserable as noted, "However, since the announcement of the sponsor's exit came after the October 15 deadline to submit rider contracts to the UCI, the riders' points will likely not be counted toward his new team's rankings toward the WorldTour, making Cobo's Vuelta win essentially worthless."

It's a tough sport on so many levels.

Photo: Bettini

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  1. Larry's surprised Gianetti's teams EVER got any real sponsorship. The guy almost died from some early doping products, then hired two cheaters dumb enough not to know CERA could be detected, then hired a Spanish/Russian guy widely suspected of doping and set it all up in one of the last countries to get serious about sports doping. Why ANY sponsor would want their name associated with this group is beyond him. With GEOX owning Diadora, they can spend money promoting Cadel Evans and the BMC team and figure on far less scandal and bad publicity once this mess goes out of the news.

  2. Yeah, but there was no scandals this season and the Geox team won the Vuelta and resigned Vuelta champ J.J. Cobo for next season.

    I'm disappointed for the riders who now don't have rides and for FUJI bikes who won't have a pro team riding their Altamira bike.

  3. Larry has no desire to get into a fight with Robbin, but if race wins and lack of scandal (this year, for now at least) was all it took, Highroad would have had no trouble finding a backer for 2012...but they could not. The seemingly endless dope scandals combined with world-wide economic crisis is making it tough for pro cycling to maintain the inflated budgets and salaries of the LeMond, and especially Armstrong eras.