Team Columbia has chosen Scott as its bike supplier for 2009, replacing Giant as the brand that carried Bob Stapleton’s young team to 118 victories in 2008, 66 for the men and 52 for the women, including Mark Cavendish’s third Tour of Ireland stage win today. The Scott Addict LTD road bike and Plasma time trial machine will be ridden by George Hincapie, Kim Kirchen and the other riders for 2009.
Terms of the deal will be disclosed next week.
“This was a very important decision for Scott and we are proud to join forces with a successful team like Columbia,” said Pascal Ducrot, wice president of Scott Sports. “The fact that the team is US and European based and includes top level riders from 17 countries around the globe fits our distribution and marketing strategy perfectly. The team works closely with technical sponsors and this allows us to bring new and innovative products not only to athletes but also to consumers. The chemistry between Scott and team manager Bob Stapleton was there from the beginning and we are confident that this step will be beneficial for both of us.”
On Wednesday we reported that Scott was dissolving its sponsorship of the former Saunier Duval squad, a Spanish outfit that ironically, didn’t get invited to the Vuelta a España, which begins in Granada August 30. Scott USA spokesman Adrian Montgomery said the decision was based on the actions of individuals, not the entire team or management, after Italian star Riccardo Riccò was arrested before Stage 12 of the Tour de France for using EPO. Riccò later admitted to using the performance enhancer under questioning. Riccò won two stages of the 2008 Giro d’Italia, finishing second overall to Alberto Contador. He also won two stages of the Tour before his expulsion.
“Out of respect for Bob Stapleton and his organization, we waited to announce this exciting news after severing ties with the former Saunier Duval team,” Montgomery said. “It certainly wasn’t our plan to remain with a team that wasn’t invited to its own Grand Tour, and it was highly unlikely, given the circumstances during the Tour, that this team would be invited back to France in 2009. Scott had taken over title sponsorship after Saunier Duval left, partnering with American Beef to finish out the 2008 season.
“We excited to be working with Team Columbia in 2009,” he added. “Our hope is to work closely with Bob and his riders to take Scott to the next level, and a partnership at this high level can only pay dividends for everyone involved.”
Giant, who sponsored T-Mobile/Team High Road/Team Columbia since 2004, has signed on as bike sponsor for Rabobank, after the Dutch team ended is 12-year relationship with the Italian maker Colnago.
“We are excited about our new partnership with Scott,” said Stapleton. “We share the same goals in providing our athletes with the best tools and technology available. We are committed to working closely with Scott to develop outstanding products for professional athletes and enthusiasts.”