Cannondale steps up for Liquigas, promises to sign an American for 2011

The company is promising to sign at least one American rider and says the new deal will allow it to work more closely with athletes on product development.

Liquigas' Kristijan Koren at the 2010 GP Montreal
Liquigas' Kristijan Koren at the 2010 GP Montreal

Cannondale is stepping up its commitment to the Liqugas team, which it has supported for four seasons. For 2011, the Italian team will be renamed Liqugas-Cannondale, and a company executive says that’s good news for American fans and bike buyers.

“I would say with 100 percent confidence that there will be at least one American on the team (in 2011),” said Bob Burbank, Cannondale’s general manager. Burbank, who declined to name the rider the team is close to signing, said the increased involvement with the team will mean the company will be able to work more closely with the athletes on product development and ensure the team attends more U.S. events.

This is the first time Cannondale has been a co-sponsor of a top European team since it backed Saeco-Cannondale during the Mario Cipollini heyday.

Liquigas has had an outstanding 2010 so far, with Ivan Basso winning the Giro, Vincenzo Nibali winning the Vuelta and rising prospect Peter Sagan winning stages at the Tour of California and showing great potential for the near future. All three are continuing with the squad for 2011. (Related: Liquigas solidifies base for 2011)

Burbank said Cannondale will push to expand the team’s roster beyond Italy and Europe to include at least one American plus riders from the Asian Pacific and elsewhere.

“You’ll see broader representation in Europe and we will be exploring outside Europe,” Burbank told VeloNews. “We want it to be a true global team that is actively participating in all the key global races.”

Doimo, this year’s co-sponsor, will remain onboard as a partnership and other co-sponsors and suppliers will be announced soon.

The team will make more announcements in coming weeks about its roster and schedule. The new team kit will be released in a few months. Burbank said the new clothing will continue to be largely green, a trademark color for both Cannondale and Liquigas.