Cycling's Team Belkin saved in new ad deal

Team Belkin will be sponsored by De Lotto in a new sponsor deal for the cycling team. This means that the team's existence after this season is guaranteed. The deal was made on Sunday night via a conference call.

Joining Team Belkin is Team BrandLoyalty, making Lotto new head sponsor for a combined cycling- and ice skating team. The two teams will go into the Winter under the same identity.

Lotto sells lottery cards, the proceeds of which go to sporting events and charities. The Lotto is known in The Netherlands as a big sporting financier, and partner of NOC*NSF. It has promised to give as much money as it can to sports and charities every year.

The letter for intent is ready to be signed, and the contracts have been mailed. During a press conference, Team Belkin may clarify this development during the second rest day of the Tour de France in Narbonne.

According to De Telegraaf, Richard Plugge, Team Belkin's team manager, confirmed the deal last night. "We are now still working on the last details. We were busy with parts of this plan before it became known that Belkin was stopping, but it only became concrete halfway through June. When the signatures have been made, and that looks very likely, then it is certainly very good news for our cycling team but also for Dutch cycling."

According to Robert van der Wallen, founder and CEO of BrandLoyalty, the structure in which the cycling and ice skating teams are under one umbrella is an "international first" in the sport world. "You can see them as two teams, a skating team and a cycling team, with one and the same charisma", Van der Wallen says.

Lotto will carry most of the budget, which runs into the millions. This will be supported by BrandLoyalty, and may be joined by a third party at some point in the (near) future.

Since it started, Lotto has given almost €1.4 billion to sports in The Netherlands. This is also the first time that Lotto will be the official sponsor of a professional sports team in skating and cycling.