Team Sunweb announced Monday that the organization’s deal with title sponsor Sunweb has been extended indefinitely.
The current arrangement between the Netherlands-based bike racing outfit and the holiday travel company runs through 2019. After that contract is up, a new one with no set end date will come into effect, guaranteeing a long-term existence for multiple competitive entities: the Sunweb men’s WorldTour squad, the Sunweb UCI Women’s team, and Sunweb’s development program, founded in 2017.
The indefinite nature of the agreement is highly unusual in the sport of cycling. Well-funded sponsors don’t grow on trees. It remains to be seen whether BMC Racing will continue into next season. Astana recently faced sponsorship uncertainty as well.
“Rather than being a temporary sponsor, Sunweb aims to build a strong legacy with the team and also as an investor in the sport, taking responsibility in the fields of youth development and anti-doping,” said Tim Van den Bergh, Sunweb’s CCO, via a team press release. “The new agreement should not only be good for Sunweb and for the team, it should also be good for the sport of cycling and its future.”
The team is also constructing a new headquarters — the Keep Challenging Center — and an “Experience Center” for fans in the Dutch-German border area.
According to the team, even if one of the parties to the new sponsorship deal should decide to back out down the road, the agreement would still remain in effect for at least two more years.
Sunweb’s commitment to long-term planning is reflected in the contracts a few of the team’s star riders have inked in recent years. Coryn Rivera, the first American winner of the Tour of Flanders, is signed through 2020. Giro d’Italia champion Tom Dumoulin is signed all the way through 2021.
“With this stability, our organizational focus can shift to many, many years into the future,” said team CEO Iwan Spekenbrink. “It offers us the opportunity to not only think long-term but also to actually shape our future, ultimately becoming a durable elite cycling establishment for both men and women. It has been our dream from the start in 2008 to grow the team, with its vulnerable economics, into a revolutionary, durable cycling establishment.”