While Team Sky’s future is uncertain, Spanish team Movistar can count on continued backing for three more years, through 2021.
The team includes world champion Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa. The telecommunications giant Telefónica announced on Monday it would continue the sponsorship agreement that began in 2011.
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“Telefónica’s support was key to obtaining those results, especially considering that their backing started in a particularly difficult moment for our sport,” team boss Eusebio Unzué said of Movistar’s eight years of backing.
“Our commitment is to continue to live up to the values of these big brands, and represent their employees and clients across the world.”
The Spanish WorldTour team won the rankings four times from 2013 to 2016, won two Grand Tours with Quintana – the 2014 Giro d’Italia and the 2016 Vuelta a España – and two world titles, including Valverde’s recent win in Innsbruck.
Britain’s Alex Dowsett broke and held the Hour Record in 2015 thanks to Movistar’s support. Bradley Wiggins now holds that title.
The sponsorship deal comes on the heels of Sky announcing it would pull its sponsorship after 10 years. The 2019 season will be the last for Sky leaving team boss David Brailsford and stars Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas wondering about 2020.
Team Movistar’s top brass, with security through 2021, can work on long term programmes and sign riders to suit them.
“Their individual triumphs are a consequence of their ambition and the whole team’s great work, a value which Telefónica identifies itself profoundly with,” said Telefónica’s global partnerships manager Rafael Fernández de Alarcón.
The deal continues cycling’s long running team, who will celebrate their 40th year in the peloton in 2019. The team raced with sponsorship from Reynolds, Banesto and Caisse d’Epargne, something Thomas noted last week when the Sky news broke.
“We see a lot of other teams have lost title sponsors but have continued, Movistar with Banesto and Caisse d’Epargne…” Thomas said.
“It’s certainly not the end, or at least hopefully it’s not the end”