American Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens) should enter the cyclocross world championships in St. Wendel, Germany, as the favorite next week, and her agent, Doug Eldridge, expects his rider to confirm her sponsorship for 2011 before mid-February.
“She’s entering what I think are going to be the most dominant years for her on the bike,” said Eldridge, principle in the Washington, D.C. based DLE Agency. “Coincidentally, they’re also going to be the most lucrative, which is a somewhat measured statement, given all the coverage that we’re starting to see as far as the disparity between male and female endorsements and start money.”
Compton’s relationship with Wisconsin-based Planet Bike is expected to conclude following the world championships. “Bob (Downs) has gone on record saying that they’re going in another direction now that he is selling the company and the new owners do not have any interest in continuing,” Eldridge told VeloNews. “Katie has had nothing but a great relationship with Bob and the Planet Bike group and were those conditions to change, we would be 100 percent amenable to talking about (a contract extension).”
Eldridge confirmed that he is in negotiations with a number of potential sponsors, including two European-based teams and a number of American mid-level backers that would come together in a package. Eldridge told VeloNews that he has the interest of two “prominent” cyclocross/mountain bike teams, one Dutch and one Belgian, as well as non-endemic sponsors in Europe and the U.S.
“It’s really been a back and forth trying to balance what’s going to be the best opportunity for Katie as far as long-term opportunity and security,” said Eldridge. “I represent NFL, NBA and track-and-field athletes and I can say without hesitation that I don’t have any other athlete with the interdisciplinary versatility that Katie does. (She has the) ability in my estimation to effectively go to St. Wendel as a favorite and then take a little bit of a mental break and start some serious, intensive mountain bike training with an objective toward qualifying for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.”
According to Eldridge, an announcement will come shortly after the world championships later this month. Compton should take the line as the top UCI points earner for elite women, having earned dominant wins in World Cups at Aigle, Switzerland, and Koksijde and Kalmthout, Belgium.
“We’re not going to make any type of decisions before the world championships,” said Eldridge. “I don’t want to cloud any of Katie’s focus for what could be one of the biggest races of her life. In the days following St. Wendel we’ll spend a lot of time together … and we’ll come to a conclusion at the very latest middle of February.”