Rabobank cuts ties with professional cycling

Dutch banking group Rabobank is cutting its ties with professional cycling in the wake of the Lance Armstrong revelations, saying it is no longer convinced that cycling is a “a clean and fair sport.”

RabobankPic
Rabobank cuts ties with professional cycling following the Lance Armstrong doping revelations.

The bank says it will end its 17-year sponsorship of both the men’s and women’s professional Dutch cycling teams at the end of the year (31 December). It will, however continue to sponsor amateur cycling.

Rabobank, which is the biggest backer of Dutch professional cycling with a sponsorship worth €15m (£12.2m), is pulling out of the sport because “the trust in the cycling world has gone”, following allegations from US anti-doping chiefs that Lance Armstrong was at the centre of a doping ring.

In a statement the financial firm said: “It is with pain in our heart, but for the bank this is an inevitable decision. We are no longer convinced that the international professional world of cycling can make this a clean and fair sport. We are not confident that this will change for the better in the foreseeable future.”

The Rabobank men’s team has won 23 Tour de France stage wins since the sponsorship began in 1996, most recently in 2011.

Both men’s and women’s teams said in a statement they will try to find new sponsors.

The decision comes a day after the Rabobank team confirmed that the International Cycling Union (UCI) had launched a doping case against one its riders, Carlos Barredo.

The UCI says it understood the bank’s decision “in light of the difficult period, namely the high public interest in past doping issues and perhaps a more recent action taken by the UCI against a rider of the team.”

British cyclist David Millar, who was handed a two-year suspension for doping in 2004, criticised the move, saying onTwitter: “Dear Rabobank, you were part of the problem. How dare you walk away from your young clean guys who are part of the solution. Sickening.”

Rabobank is the latest major sponsor to turn its back on cycling after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) branded Armstrong a “serial cheat” last week. In the past few days Armstrong has beed dropped by several of his sponsors including Nike and AB Inbev.

Industry experts have told Marketing Week that the knock-on effects of the allegations surrounding the former seven time Tour de France winner could dent the professional cycling’s ability to attract major sponsors in the future.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here