Tour de France organisers ASO are looking for new sponsors for the race's green jersey, as French betting company PMU announced it was pulling out of the partnership after almost a quarter of a century of being associated with the race.
Communications director of PMU, Benoit Cornu told L'Equipe that the company was moving its focus away from the world's biggest bike race to focus on building publicity in other sports.
"Over the past 25 years we’ve benefited from the Tour de France’s great visibility,” said Cornu.
“The Tour lasts for three weeks a year. In 2010 we chose to back football because we needed a higher profile and to modernise PMU.”
PMU has had an official partnership with French football club Paris Saint Germain since 2011 and extended its contract with the club earlier in 2014 for another four years. Deals with the French Cup and the French Football Federation are part of the company's move away from cycling towards football.
ASO are yet to announce a new partner for the €1.5m euro sponsorship of the maillot vert, which was won by Peter Sagan for a second consecutive time this year, but the Tour organisers are looking for a company who would be in the deal for the long term.
“We’re not getting too carried away with this, because our vision is for the long term," said Laurent Lachaux, commercial and partnerships director at ASO.
"[The ideal sponsor would be} a great French company that wants to raise its international profile or a foreign company that wants to boost its image thanks to the Tour.”
The points system for the green jersey is set to be revised for 2015, with more points being awarded to the winner of a stage and less to those who finish in second, third and points places below.
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Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.
An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).
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