The Dutch team Rabobank will ride Giant bicycles next year, ending its long term relationship with Colnago, according to a press release from the bike maker.
A company spokesman could not say if Giant will continue as bike sponsor of U.S.-based Team Columbia.
“Giant’s current sponsorship agreement with Team Columbia remains active through the end of 2008,” Giant’s Andrew Juskaitis said. “Giant is currently evaluating its sports marketing programs for 2009, including its future sponsorship of Team Columbia.”
A Team Columbia spokesman was not immediately available to comment on the news.
Rabobank, which includes three-time World Champion Oscar Freire, two-time Vuelta a España winner Denis Menchov and current Cyclocross World Champion Lars Boom, has signed a two-year agreement with the Taiwanese bike maker. The agreement covers three separate teams — the elite international road team, an Under-23 developmental team and a professional cyclocross team.
Rabobank, a Netherlands-based global bank, has been the team’s title sponsor since 1996.
“We’re pleased Rabobank has chosen to ride Giant,” said Tony Lo, chief executive officer of Giant. “It’s a natural fit — two organizations with a long-term commitment to competitive cycling. Combine Rabobank’s talent with Giant’s ability to create superior products, and great things are sure to happen.”
Rabobank team bikes will be equipped with Shimano components. The agreement goes into effect January 1, 2009.