World-leading bike brand Giant announced today that it is the title sponsor of a new road cycling organization that includes three separate teams racing under the Team Giant-Shimano name. Giant will provide bikes and apparel for a WorldTour pro men’s team as well as a men’s Development Team competing as a UCI Continental squad. And Liv/giant, the cycling brand dedicated to women riders, will supply bikes and apparel for a pro women’s road team.
Giant has agreed to a multi-year commitment to sponsor this talented and internationally oriented program that includes star riders such as Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb. And following an unexpected break with the team’s planned 2014 title sponsor, Giant has also stepped up to assume title sponsorship this year, with Shimano as the co-title sponsor.
Team Giant-Shimano general manager Iwan Spekenbrink said the team is excited to partner with the world’s leading producer of high-quality bikes and gear.
“We are very proud of the confidence that Giant has shown in our athletes, our organization and our vision,” said Spekenbrink. “By stepping up after our planned title sponsor departed, Giant is demonstrating their belief in the superior results, global reach and integrity we have established over the last several years. The idea of building a new concept in pro cycling, together with Giant, has been welcomed with great enthusiasm by the riders and the entire organization.”
Team Giant-Shimano has a mission to advance the sport of cycling, and to “Keep Challenging” its athletes, coaches and equipment to push the limits of performance. It is about inspiring passion for cycling in riders around the world. The organization’s commitment to innovation, technology and athlete support helped the team win 12 grand tour stages over the past two seasons.
“We’re thrilled to be joining forces with this young, progressive and energetic program,” said Giant CEO Tony Lo. “We have a shared mission with the team to change and evolve the sport, and to inspire the next generation of riders. Our product development team is already collaborating with this innovation-driven group of riders and staff to test and develop cutting-edge products to help them win at the highest level. With an international roster of European, Asian and U.S. riders, we’re also excited to connect the team with our retail partners and millions of riders worldwide to promote the health, environmental and social benefits of cycling.”
Home to star sprinters Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb of Germany, plus a deep roster of international talent including Frenchman Warren Barguil, the pro men’s team is focused on WorldTour events including the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, plus major classics and one-day races around the world.
Kittel had a breakout 2013 season, collecting 15 race wins including four stages at the Tour de France. Degenkolb also had a successful year, winning Stage 5 at the Giro d’Italia, the WorldTour classic Vattenfall Cyclassics-Hamburg, and the Paris-Tours fall classic. Barguil, a neo-pro in 2013, won two stages of the Vuelta at age 21 last year.
Spekenbrink built the squad into one of the sport’s premier teams by focusing on the development of the most promising talents. The organization has a balanced roster of international riders representing 15 countries, and recently announced the signing of two rising American talents, Lawson Craddock and Chad Haga, for 2014. Also returning to the team is Ji Cheng, who in 2012 became the first Chinese rider to complete a grand tour (the Vuelta a España).
Team Giant-Shimano riders will have a full stable of Giant bikes to choose from: the Propel Advanced SL aero road bike, the legendary TCR Advanced SL road bike, the Defy Advanced SL endurance road bike and the Trinity Advanced SL time trial bike. In addition to team bikes, Giant will also supply riders with high-performance racing kits and apparel. And riders from all teams will benefit from the winning performance of Shimano components.
The pro women’s team, led by current stars Kirsten Wild and Claudia Häusler, will focus on major stage races and World Cups, and will race primarily on the Liv/giant Envie Advanced bike. They are joined by rising star Lucy Garner, a two-time junior road world champion from Great Britain.
In addition to the roster of road racers, cyclocross star and longtime Giant racer Lars van der Haar, the 22-year-old Dutchman who currently leads the UCI World Cup Series, will also make the move to the team in March 2014.