Liquigas-Cannondale welcomes all the success it is enjoying this year in the Tour de France since changes are in store for 2013. Vincenzo Nibali, third overall, is leaving and title sponsor Liquigas is likely to leave too.
“Certainly, results help in finding something, but I don’t believe that immediate success equals sponsorship,” Roberto Amadio, the team’s general manager told Cycling Weekly this morning. “Sponsors arrive because you have a solid structure, something that you’ve proved over eight years. It’s clear, though, that sponsors are pleased by results and it helps. It’s all added together in the end.”
Sicilian Vincenzo Nibali is ready to give the Italian first division team its first podium spot in the Tour de France since it began in 2005. It has already won the Giro d’Italia with Ivan Basso in 2010 and the Vuelta a España with Nibali in 2010.
Slovak Peter Sagan secured three stage wins this year and positioned himself to win the green jersey. He leads the points competition by 356 points over André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) at 254 points with three days to race.
After the Tour de France ends in Paris, Amadio must seriously start to consider the team’s future. Its Grand Tour star is leaving and likely to join the Astana team. Liquigas, an Italian natural gas company, is likely pulling out too.
US bike manufacturer, Cannondale reportedly will take over title sponsorship, as the BMC Bicycles company funds Cadel Evans’ team. Amadio is said to be also looking for a second title sponsor. With Italy suffering debt problems, he has a difficult search on his hands.
“It’s a particular moment for all the sponsors in Italy,” he said of Liquigas. “They are evaluating their involvement.”
Amadio welcomed Nibali in his second year as a professional when he was only 21 years old and helped him develop. He filled Ivan Basso’s shoes as Liquigas’ Grand Tour captain. When Basso won the Giro in 2010, Nibali helped himself to a stage win and placed third overall. He went on to win the Vuelta. This year, he won the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race and nearly pulled off a 20km solo attack in Liège-Bastogne-Liège one-day classic.
“We made our offer, what we thought was best. There’s a big difference in what the other teams are offering, though,” said Amadio. “I’m sorry, but we’ve had seven years together, grew together. [his Tour] shows that we are able to help young riders grow and realise their dreams.”
His new star, Sagan re-signed earlier this year through 2014. Sagan and riders like Moreno Moser, winner of the Tour of Poland, will lead Amadio’s team though the changes.
Tour de France 2012: Latest news
Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list
Tour de France 2012: Stage reports
Stage 16: Voeckler the Pyrenean king as he wins in Bagneres de Luchon
Stage 15: Fedrigo wins, day off for peloton
Stage 14: Sanchez solos to Foix victory to save Rabobank’s Tour
Stage 13: Greipel survives climb and crosswinds to win third Tour stage
Stage 12: Millar wins Tour stage nine years from his last
Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back
Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour
Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT
Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks
Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage
Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage
Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades
Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes
Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne
Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory
Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt
Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second
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