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On the heels of Monday’s announcement that the Astana Cycling team will ride Specialized bicycles for 2010, component maker SRAM and wheel builder Zipp also announced their support of two-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador’s team. The addition of these equipment brands to Astana’s package again virtually guarantees that major US bike, component, and wheel manufacturers will all be represented on the top step of the 2010 Tour de France podium.
Like the recently announced Astana package, Team Saxo Bank also relies on the combination of Specialized bikes, SRAM Red components, and Zipp wheels, putting these two top ProTour teams on almost entirely equal footing in terms of equipment.
SRAM has already announced sponsorship of Lance Armstrong’s Team RadioShack, which will ride Trek bikes, Bontrager wheels, and SRAM Red components. With Astana’s Alberto Contador (joined by former Tour de France champion Oscar Pereiro) and Saxo Bank’s Andy Schleck also riding SRAM Red, the company is all but assured of victory in the 2010 Tour de France.
For Zipp, the addition of Astana brings a third top-level program to Zipp’s already deep sponsorship roster, which along with Saxo Bank, includes the Cervélo TestTeam and a lineup of triathletes such as Olympic champions Jan Frodeno and Emma Snowsill, plus U.S. Cyclocross National Champions Tim Johnson and Katie Compton. Now, with Contador and 2006 Tour winner Pereiro on Astana, and 2008 winner Carlos Sastre riding for Cervélo, the last three men to claim victory on cycling’s biggest stage will be riding Zipp wheels in 2010.
In a press release regarding the Astana sponsorship, Zipp Marketing Manager Andy Paskins said, “Zipp is proud of all the athletes that we support and we’re excited to bring Alberto and his teammates into the fold. Plus, our partnership with Specialized has been extremely successful and we’re excited to build on that.”
In a separate press release, SRAM’s Global Marketing Director, David Zimberoff said “We are super excited to have the Team including Contador on SRAM again. Having won the Tour and swept the podium in 2009 was a great milestone in SRAM’s history.”
SRAM first sponsored the Astana team in 2008 and with Alberto Contador has now clinched all three grand tours: the Giro d’Italia, the Vuelta España and the Tour de France.