Blanco’s sponsorship woes are reportedly over, with news breaking today that the squad has secured a new contract.
According to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the team has signed a 2.5-year contract with American electronics manufacturer Belkin. The new deal will take effect at the Tour de France, which starts June 29 in Corsica.
The squad was formed in 1984 and has existed ever since under several names, most notably Rabobank from 1996-2012. But the Dutch bank announced last year that it was severing its sponsorship. Although it agreed to fund the team through the 2013 season, the naming rights were stripped.
Team bosses gave themselves a deadline of this summer to find a new sponsor; otherwise, they would have granted permission to their riders to find new teams for next season. Most notably, this would have included Robert Gesink, a strong all-around rider who usually finds himself on the list of favorites at every grand tour.
Gesink abandoned last month’s Giro after falling ill; his best finish in a grand tour is fifth at the 2010 Tour de France.
There’s no word from the team on whether or not its name will change to Belkin, but this would be the likely scenario.
Based in Los Angeles, Belkin produces routers, mobile phone and computer accessories, surge protectors, and other electronic products.
Rabobank backed out of its sponsorship after news of past doping on the team, beginning in 1998, became known. It does, however, continue to sponsor the women’s Rabobank squad.