The companies behind the Pro Tour


One thing that has always fascinated me about the Pro Tour is, who are these companies who support the sport? For most people in Europe these companies are probably all too familiar but for the rest of us, consider this Pro Tour Sponsorship 101. While some of the them are obvious, a few of them do have an interesting story behind them.





AG2R La Mondiale, is an insurance and social security wealth advisor in France.

image BMC are a Swiss based bicycle manufacturer. OK so we all knew that one, but did you know that BMC stands for “Bicycle Manufacturing Company”, who knew?
image Euskaltel is a Spanish telecom company based in the autonomous Basque region in Spain. Euskadi is Spanish for Basque.
HTC is a well known handset manufacturer based in Taiwan. HTC first started producing palm sized PCs in 1999 and mobile phones 2002 but it wasn’t until 2006 they started releasing products under their own name. For the record HTC stands for Hi-Tech Computers.
image Gazprom is the largest extractor of natural gas in the world, accounting for 17% of worldwide gas production. Gazprom was created in 1989 when the Soviet Ministry of the Gas Industry was privatised.
image Itera is an independent producer and trader of natural gas operating in the CIS and the Baltic states. The company has been heavily involved in cycling, which is probably due to the fact that the chairman of the board, Igor Makarov was a member of the USSR national cycling team.
image The Lampre group is Italian based company which specialises in pre-coated steel production. LAMPRE, whose name results from the combination of the Italian words LAMiere PRErivestite, roughly translated to English means “Sheets Precoated”. For Australians, pre coated steel is the equivalent to colourbond steel as used in patio roofs.
image ISD is a steel producer based in the Ukraine
image No surprises here, as everyone knows, they are a bicycle company and primary sponsors for Team Leopard. But what may be of interest is where the name Team Leopard came from; The team needed to establish a management company in order to run the team. They randomly named it “Leopard” and then really liked the name and so the name stuck.
image Liquigas is an Italian based supplier of Liquified Petroleum Gas.
CannondaleLogo Yet another bicycle company as a named sponsor but did you know that the name of the company was taken from the Cannondale Metro North train station in Wilton, Connecticut.
image I bet you thought they had something to do with the film industry. Well Movistar is actually a Spanish based mobile phone operator. When translated from Spanish, I’m guessing Movi is short for Movil, which means Mobile and Star is the same in Spanish, translating the name into Mobile Star.
image Omega Pharma is a Belgium based company providing consumer healthcare products. In 2007 one of their subsidiaries, Predictor sponsored the team. Predictor is a home pregnancy test kit, so all you guys riding around with your team kit on, time to check out what you are really advertising.
image While there are many lottery commissions around, given that Omega Pharma-Lotto team is a Belgium based team it is not going to surprise you that it is the Belgium Lottery Commission that sponsors the team.
image Samruk Kazyna is a management company set up by the Kazakhstan government to manage state owned assets. It was established through the consolidation of “State Holding Samruk” and “Sustainable Development Fund Kazyna” in October 2008
image Specialized is another well known bicycle manufacturer that supports the Pro Tour. Mike Sinyard founded the company in 1974 and is still the majority owner and CEO of the company. The company produced its first bike, the “Allez”, in 1979 and still produces the Allez today. Translated from French, Allez means “Go”
image Quick Step is a international company specialising in tiles and laminate floors.
image Innergetic is a brand of latex mattress produced by a Belgium company Latexco
image The bicycle company established by cycling legend Eddy Merckx and based in Belgium
image A Dutch based banking cooperative specialising in finance for agribusiness. The bank was formed in 1980 when Raiffeisen-Bank and Boerenleenbank merged, the banks took the first two letters of each bank to form Rabobank.
image Saxo Bank is an international investment bank based in Denmark. Saxo Bank is named after one of the notable Danish historians of the Middle Ages, Saxo Grammaticus.
image SunGard is a software and technology services company based in Pennsylvania, USA. One of their core services is the provision of financial systems, which I’m guessing is their link to Saxo Bank.
image  Sky is actually BskyB which stands for British Sky Broadcasting. British Sky Broadcasting was formed in 1990 by the merger of Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting.
image Garmin is a well known manufacturer of GPS devices based in Kansas, USA and is loved by most cyclists, well me at least.
image Cervélo is another well known bike manufacturer based in Canada and was started by Phil White and Gérard Vroomen in 1995. The following is a description of how the name came to be was written by Gerard Vroomen:
Cervélo is a combination of the Italian word for brain “cervello” and the french word for bike, “vélo”. So it’s a brainbike, or a bike with some extra thought put into it. We thought it was funny at the time, so we used it as a working title and it stuck. Oh and in regards to how Cervélo is pronounced, The founders of Cervélo have always pronounced the company name in this way; Cervélo: (Sir-vell-oh). So there, if you get nothing else from this article, this should finally put an end to those damn arguments about how it is pronounced.
image RadioShack is a chain of Electronic stores in the US and in Australia are known as Tandy. The company was started in 1921 by Theodore and Milton Deutschmann, They chose the name, “RadioShack,” which was a term for the small, wooden structure that housed a ship’s radio equipment. The Tandy Corporation which started off as a leather company bought RadioShack in 1963 for $300,000
image Founded in 1969 Vacansoleil is based Belgium and owns a number of Camping and recreational parks across Europe.
image The company was founded in Belgium in 1976 and is a producer of plant food for professional gardeners.


If you know any other interesting facts about these companies please leave a comment.


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