Another one bites the dust
“Adios amigos” to Banesto, who will be leaving our sport at the end of 2003. Banesto, brought to prominence first as a part of the Reynolds Sponsorship with Pedro Delgado and then carried to top world brand recognition by the success (after success…) of Miguel Indurain, is hanging up its wheels.
Maybe it is and maybe it is not for some of the same reasons as Mapei, but that is not all that critical. What is of not is the loss of another of the mainstays of cycling support. It certainly bares watching, and if the exit is due in part or in whole to doping problems and the lack of true leadership in suspension enforcement from the UCI (Case in point the VDB affair…) one would hope that we get a review of strategy from the people that hold our sport in their hands.
It is not a small deal when the people that are the providers of our sport begin to leave at a faster rate than they come. Yes there are always other companies that can be persuaded to take part but, when it is done half-heartedly, it almost always results in the creation of another farce like Linda McCartney / Jag / Jacobs creek.
The bottom line is that the UCI still get paid. The managers usually get paid. The companies keep running. The riders however are almost always left wondering where there next meal will come from and weather or not they will have a job.
Thanks to Banesto for announcing early, they are a class act and will be missed. Thanks to for Dr. S at Mapei, as I doubt any of the riders will be missing a penny of what they are promised. Thanks in advance to, for the UCI’s immediate and decisive action to make the changes necessary to start attracting sponsors at a pace at least equal to those that leave your union members out of work.