With so many teams seeking new title sponsors at the beginning of this season, I was a bit worried about the health of pro cycling. You could sense a bit of anguish on Bob Stapleton's part as High Road struggled for a high profile victory in the Tour of California, finally delivered by Hincapie on the last day -- of course they've had too many since then to count. Then there was the storied CSC team, continuing to cleanup in top classics like Paris-Roubaix, but perhaps too wounded by Riis' past. And then there was young Slipstream, which has gone from the little TIAA-CREF development team all the way to living on the international stages getting invites that Astana was denied.
Garmin's sponsorship makes the most sense to me -- the Garmin triangle even fits well with the Argyle. The hints have perhaps been there for awhile as the Edge 705 has already been featured in past blog posts. They may also be the team most in need of the Nuvi products, getting lost not once, not twice, but three times during the Giro. It was even a Garmin Nuvi that saved them the first time around as David Millar realized that the Nuvi was among their prizes for the opening TTT stage.
Motionbased continues to improve as a Web-based stats platform as has the Edge product line, which most recently has added compatibility with Saris PowerTap hubs. That will certainly put some hurt into Training Peaks.
CSC was the first of the recent announcements, with Saxo Bank taking a secondary title but assuming the title role next year. I'm sad to see CSC go -- they're sponsorship of the ToC and TdG Tour Trackers made for some new ways to follow cycling. As a Virginian, I'll also miss the Virginia-based company's sponsorship of the CSC Invitational. Saxo Bank brings the sponsorship back to Riis' Danish roots.
Perhaps the national roots led me to my initial confusion over the Columbia announcement -- my eyes misread the new High Road sponsor as Colombia. Without the aid of my morning coffee, my brain was left to puzzle over how a country's adoration for George Hincapie could lead to a team sponsorship. A little more reading solved my confusion. The US-sportswear company is looking to raise their profile Internationally and perhaps they'll also add some more cycling apparel to their lines.