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Find out what all those title sponsors actually do for a living. Some are a little... unexpected

The names of the pro teams are part of the language of cycling, but what the title sponsors actually do is sometimes a mystery to most of us. Okay, we all know that Sky is a telecommunications/TV company and BMC Racing Team doesn’t leave much room for confusion, but some of the sponsors are a little more obscure. Here are some of the most interesting from the top levels of the sport.

Bora–Hansgrohe

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Bora makes hobs that draw cooking vapours and smells away before they can spread around your house, hence all the videos of former world champion Peter Sagan cooking that appeared on social media a while ago. To be fair, he does them well in a Blue Peter kind of way.

For the record, fellow title sponsor Hansgrohe makes taps, sinks, showers and stuff like that, if you were wondering.

Trek-Segafredo

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The Segafredo half of Trek-Segafredo refers to an Italian coffee brand. It’s no surprise to find coffee featuring among the World Tour team sponsors, caffeine being about as central to cycling as shaved legs and Lycra. It always has been. You might well know, for example, that the Faema name which was emblazoned across Eddy Merckx’s chest for a large part of his career is a brand of coffee machine. Saeco, sponsor of the hugely successful team of Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini in the late 90s, also makes coffee machines.

CCC Team

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Headquartered in Polkowice, Poland, CCC is a retailer and manufacturer of shoes and bags. They don't make cycling shoes, which is a bit disappointing, but the team is nevertheless Poland's first WorldTour team.

Team Katusha-Alpecin

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We all know by now that Alpecin is a caffeine shampoo (more caffeine in cycling!) because we’ve all seen the “German engineering for your hair” ads.

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Katusha started with the team and has since expanded into clothing and travel. Katusha also makes an excellent cup of coffee (honestly) at its pop-up café.

Lotto-Soudal

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Soudal makes adhesives. 300ml of its white Decorator’s Caulk will cost you just a quid from Homebase.

Mapei, a big name in cycling in the 1990s and early 2000s, is also well represented in your local DIY store thanks to a range that covers a similar area.

Oh, and vaguely related, there’s Quick-Step flooring, of course.

Mitchelton-Scott

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The Mitchelton bit of Mitchelton-Scott is a wine-maker in the Australian state of Victoria. Scott makes bikes, as well as gear for motorsports and winter sports.

Groupama - FDJ

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The team run by double Paris-Roubaix winner Marc Madiot (far left, above) got a substantial cash injection for 2018 when French-based insurance company Groupama came on board as a sponsor

FDJ stands for Francaise des Jeux (which roughly translates as ‘French Games’) which is the operator of France's national lottery. No prizes for working out that Lotto of Lotto-Soudal is also a lottery.

Jumbo-Visma

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Jumbo is a supermarket chain in the Netherlands. Given the amount of food your typical pro cyclist inhales in a day, a supermarket is a logical sponsor for a racing team. French supermarket cooperative Systeme U sponsored a team back in the 1980s that included Tour de France winner Laurent Fignon, though Fignon's Systeme U era is best remembered for his losing the 1989 Tour de France to Greg Lemond by just eight seconds.

Visma is a Norwegian software company specialising in business, administration and government systems. As far as we can tell, that's exactly as boring as it sounds.

If you're looking at the team group photo and thinking "Blimey there's a lot of them", that's because the line-up includes the 11 speed skaters also supported by the same organisation. 

Astana

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Astana Pro Team is sponsored by a group of state-owned companies from Kazakhstan and is named after its capital city. Fun fact: Astana is the second coldest capital city in the world after Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, despite sitting at roughly the same latitude as London. True. You can impress your friends with that one, if your friends are easily impressed.

Movistar

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This one is pretty well known; Movistar is a big Spanish mobile phone and broadband operator owned by Telefónica, the company behind O2.

Cofidis

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Cofidis is properly called Cofidis Solutions Crédits, and you don’t need to be fluent in French to work out that the company specialises in consumer credit. Finance is well represented in the pro peloton: AG2R La Mondiale provides life insurance and pensions while Caja Rural from the Caja Rural – Seguros RGA Pro Continental team is a Spanish bank, and Seguros RGA is one of its subsidiaries, in what we think is a ubique example of a team being sponsored by two bits of the same company.

Team Sunweb

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Sunweb is a holiday company while B&B Hotels, co-sponsor of Pro Continental Team Vital Concept–B&B Hotels, is a chain of hotels in Brittany.

Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane

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Nippo is a giant in the Japanese construction industry while Vini Fantini is an Italian winery. New sponsor Faizane is an Italian designer and wholesaler of industrial products that also sponsors volleyball and hockey teams and snowboard racer Daniele Bagozza.

Roompot-Charles

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Hailing from the Netherlands, Roompot Parks is another holiday park company, while Charles is a brand of charcuterie and salad products: sliced meats, bacon and like that.

Team Manzana Postobon

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Colombia-based Continental team Manzana Postobon takes the name of an apple flavoured soft drink. The drink is pink, hence the colour of the logo and kit.

Mat has in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

16 comments

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arckuk [109 posts] 1 year ago
7 likes

I like to kid myself that I'm predominantly immune to the pressures of advertising, but I took great delight earlier this year at buying some Soudal silicone seal earlier this year at Homebase. I think it might have been 50 p more than the other branded alternative, but it's what Andre Greipel would have wanted me to do. Having said that, I never felt good with Sky taking over my previous broadband supplier, and was happy to ditch them at the first opportunity. Perhaps it was just familiarity breeding contempt, but if given a choice, I'd definitely go for a Quick-Step floor.

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kil0ran [1697 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

I've got a retro San Pellegrino shirt from Prendas and have taken to drinking their Limonata at my regular cafe stop so influence clearly continues long after the sponsorship ends. 

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nod [72 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Apple drink... pink... 

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John Stevenson [450 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

arckuk wrote:

given a choice, I'd definitely go for a Quick-Step floor.

Over the years you've had quite the choice of flooring makers among cycling sponsors.

Berry Floor "presented" the US Postal team (whatever "presented" is supposed to mean).

Domo is a Belgian carpet manufacturer

Ariostea makes floor tiles

As Cras or Collstrop, Belgian wood-products company Cras group has sponsored teams, though it's not known if any riders were ever supplied with their parquet flooring

And of course if you wanted a resin floor, then the mighty Mapei is your go-to suppier

Clearly, there's something about running a flooring company that makes people want to sponsor cycling teams

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Rapha Nadal [1155 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Those old Domo-Farm Frites Merckx bikes were things of beauty.

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nniff [318 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
John Stevenson wrote:
arckuk wrote:

given a choice, I'd definitely go for a Quick-Step floor.

Clearly, there's something about running a flooring company that makes people want to sponsor cycling teams

 

Perhaps if you were to find oneself inadvertently sponsoring a chemically-enhanced team, the floor is as low as you can get and is therefore safe ground......  ;o)

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rowes [109 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I went for a HTC phone a few years ago for obvious reasons.

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Simon E [3852 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Lampre is an Italian industrial firm supplying hot-rolled steel pre-coated with a PVC film, according to http://www.bikeraceinfo.com/riderhistories/sponsors-directory.html

U.S. Postal must have done well out of a certain Texan's Tour wins while  brands like Carrera jeans and Mercatone Uno, an Italian supermarket chain, have also become famous worldwide. I had never heard of HTC before they sponsored Cavendish & co. but would subsequently have considered that brand if I was in the market for a mobile phone. If I was buying an espresso machine Rocket would be the first brand I'd consider (although I can't even remember who they sponsored).
Vacansoleil is a holiday company while co-sponsor DCM soil company.

Companies come and go, just look at the rollercoaster of Vaughters' Slipstream / Garmin / Cannondale gang funding. Sunweb used to be Skil-Shimano, briefly 1t4i then Argos-Shimano and Giant-Alpecin.

Apparently the AnPost-Chain Reaction team run by Sean Kelly & Kurt Bogearts haven't been able to secure a title sponsor after the Irish postal service didn't renew for 2018 after 10 years of support. It will also no longer sponsor the Rás and the Rás na mBan.

More about sponsors by INRNG - http://inrng.com/2017/01/pro-team-sponsors-2017-world-tour/

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Ratfink [222 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

It was a while before i found out Lotto wasn't the trainers i assumed it was.

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Steve Cooper [18 posts] 1 year ago
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I do my bit for the Lotto Soudal team by using their expanding foam filler.

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StewartM [22 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Steve Cooper wrote:

I do my bit for the Lotto Soudal team by using their expanding foam filler.

 

Darn, I just bought some foam filler the other day and didn't think to look for Soudal brand. Would have been the closest I came to buying a pair of Hanseno shoes.

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kil0ran [1697 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Just wish Soudal (or Lotto) would end their sponsorship so I could  buy the team kit, best one in the peloton to my eyes.

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don simon fbpe [2997 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Good business for building suppliers, plenty of jollies for the architects and consultants where they can meet the teams. It's not about awareness from the public, more about being able to wine and dine specifiers, they are worth more tha you or I.

Not bad for the sponsors themselves either as the marketing director for Movistar had signed pictures from sporting heroes, from all sorts of sporting disciplines all over his office. The odd VIP tickets came from there too.

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abedfo [18 posts] 3 months ago
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Was in B&Q the other day and found some soudal expanding foam-safe to say i didnt purchase it due to its high cost. 

Also there is a Deceuninck factory close to me in Calne, Wiltshire. 

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matthewn5 [1416 posts] 2 months ago
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The flat I bought has Hansgrohe taps, and boy oh boy the spares are expensive. Happy to support a cycling team though ;-))

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Dingaling [112 posts] 2 months ago
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Well, you did by a flat with a top brand in taps. I visited the factory in Schiltach many years ago and was impressed with the range of processes. They made everything from raw materials, moulded their own plastic parts, cast and chromium plated the brass parts. Completely the opposite of most brands in cycling that just buy everything in and stick a name on it.