13 crazy pro team sponsors and their unlikely products

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The names of professional teams are part of the language of cycling, but what the title sponsors actually do is sometimes a mystery to most of us. Okay we all know that Ineos is a chemical company with a side business in budding Land Rover cars and BMC Racing Team didn’t leave much room for confusion but some of the sponsors are a bit more obscure. Here are some of the most interesting from the highest levels in the sport.

Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec


The second-tier Pro Continental roster is where you’ll find some of the more wonderfully obscure sponsors (at least from an English-speaking perspective). Androni Giocattoli is an Italian manufacturer of children’s toys, known for their beach toys (yes, buckets and spades) and a Lego Duplo lookalike, Unico Plus.

Also in Italy, Sidermec manufactures steel sheets for the canning industry, which must be one of the most indirect marketing proposals through sponsorship. It’s not like someone chooses a box of beans because the maker of the steel used to make the box sponsors the bike races.

Bora – Hansgrohe


Peter Sagan, Bora Hansgrohe (Zac Williams: SWpix.com)

Pierre Sagan, Bora Hansgrohe (Zac Williams: SWpix.com)

Bora manufactures cooktops that remove cooking vapors and odors before they spread throughout your home, hence all the videos of former world champion Peter Sagan cooking which appeared on social media some time ago. To be fair, he does them well in Blue Peter’s way.

For the record, title partner Hansgrohe makes faucets, sinks, showers and stuff like that, if you’re wondering.

Trek-Segafredo


Lizzie Deignan of Trek Segafredo trains for the Olympic pebble relay after winning Paris-Roubaix - Credit Dion Kerckhoffs: CorVos: SWpix.com_.JPG

The Segafredo half of Trek-Segafredo refers to an Italian coffee brand. It’s no surprise to find coffee among World Tour team sponsors, with caffeine being about as essential to cycling as shaved legs and Lycra. It always has been. You may know, for example, that the name Faema that has been engraved on Eddy Merckx’s chest for much of his career is a coffee machine brand. Saeco, sponsor of Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini’s successful team in the late 90s, also manufactures coffee machines.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step


Julian Alaphilippe, Deceuninck Quick-Step (Alex Broadway: ASO: SWpix.com)

Julian Alaphilippe, Deceuninck Quick-Step (Alex Broadway:ASO: SWpix.com)

One of the oldest teams in the professional peloton, Patrick Lefevere’s team has had the Quick-Step coating as their primary or secondary sponsor since 1999.

New Main Sponsor Deceuninck NV is a Flanders-based multinational designer and producer of PVC building materials such as windows, doors and cladding.

CCC Team


Joseph Roskopf, CCC team (Zac Williams: SWpix.com)

Joseph Roskopf, Team CCC (Zac Williams: SWpix.com)

Based in Polkowice, Poland, CCC is a retailer and manufacturer of shoes and bags. They don’t make cycling shoes, which is a bit of a letdown, but the team is Poland’s first WorldTour team nonetheless.

Lotto Soudal


Florian Vermeersch of Lotto Soudal tries to escape from a small helicopter during Paris-Roubaix Credit SWpix.com

Soudal manufactures adhesives. 300ml of his White Decorator’s Caulk will only cost you a pound of Homebase.

Mapei, a big name in cycling in the 90s and early 2000s, is also well represented in your local DIY store with a range that covers a similar area.

Oh, and loosely related, there is Quick-Step Flooring, sure.

Groupama – FDJ


Lewis Askley from Team Groupama FDJ Credit SWpix.com_

The team led by two-time Paris-Roubaix winner Marc Madiot (far left, above) received a substantial cash injection for 2018 when the French insurance company Groupama came on board as a sponsor

FDJ means Lotery (which roughly translates to “French games”) which is the operator of the French national lottery. No prize for understanding that the Lotto de Lotto-Soudal is also a lottery.

Jumbo-Visma


Anna Henderson of Team Jumbo-Visma after a fall at Paris-Roubaix Credit Dion Kerckhoffs: Cor Vos: SWpix.com_.JPG

Jumbo is a supermarket chain in the Netherlands. Considering the amount of food your typical professional cyclist inhales in a day, a supermarket makes a logical sponsor for a racing team. French supermarket cooperative Systeme U sponsored a team in the 1980s that included Tour de France winner Laurent Fignon, although Fignon’s Systeme U era is best known for his 1989 Tour de France loss to Greg Lemond by only eight seconds.

Visma is a Norwegian software company specializing in business, administrative and government systems. As far as we can judge, this is exactly as boring as it sounds.

If you look at the group photo of the team and say to yourself “Fuck there are a lot”, it’s because the line-up includes the 11 speed skaters also supported by the same organization.

Astana-Premier Tech


Alexey Lutsenko of Astana-Premier Tech Credit Alex Broadway / SWpix.com

Astana Pro Team is sponsored by a group of state-owned enterprises in Kazakhstan and is named after its capital. Fun Fact 1: Astana is the second coldest capital in the world after Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, although it sits at roughly the same latitude as London. True. You can impress your friends with this one, if your friends are easily impressed. Fun Fact 2: The city is now called Nur-Sultan, having been renamed in 2019 in honor of Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan from 1990 to 2019. A fifth says it changes again if the Nur Otan party of Nazarbayev loses power.

Premier Tech is a Canadian agricultural products and industrial solutions company.

Movistar


Movistar riders at the AJ Bell Tour of Britain - Credit SWpix.com_.JPG

This one is quite well known; Movistar is a large Spanish mobile and broadband operator owned by Telefónica, the company behind O2.

Cofidis


Guardia Sanframondi de Cofidis swears it was SO big at the Giro d'Italia - credit Miwa Iijima: Cor Vos: SWpix.com_.JPG

Cofidis is properly called Cofidis Solutions Crédits, and you don’t need to be fluent in French to know that the company specializes in consumer credit. Finance is well represented in the pro peloton: AG2R La Mondiale provides life insurance and pensions while Caja Rural of the Caja Rural – Seguros RGA Pro Continental team is a Spanish bank, and Seguros RGA is one of its subsidiaries, in what we think is a ubiquitous example of a team sponsored by two pieces of the same company.

DSM


Nicolas Roche (Credit: Cor Vos / Team DSM)

Nicolas Roche (Credit: Cor Your/ Team DSM)

DSM is a multinational chemical company based in the Netherlands. TLA stands for Dutch State Mines because the company started as a state-owned company to mine coal in the Limburg region. Coal mining ceased there in 1973, but the name remains to recognize the company’s origins.

Roompot-Charles


Roompot-Charles

The team is no longer, having folded at the end of 2019, but how can we not mention a squad called Roompot? Originally from the Netherlands, Roompot Parks is another holiday park company, while Charles is a brand of deli and salad products: cold cuts, bacon and others.


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