Tuesday, November 17, 2009

God damn it - How Much Can He Take.......?

MSG’s president surprised by Landis exit

Kirsten Robbins
November 18, 11:28,
November 17, 22:32
Floyd Landis (OUCH) responds to an early attack.

Floyd Landis (OUCH) responds to an early attack.

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OUCH funds replaced with new title sponsor

Floyd Landis and Momentum Sports Group (MSG) announced today the early termination of their rider-contract agreement, releasing Landis from OUCH-Maxxis Professional Cycling team before the end of the 2009 season. While slightly surprised by Landis’ departure, MSG President Thierry Attias wished Landis well in his future endeavors when speaking to Cyclingnews.

“There was no big climax,” Attias said. “He communicated his desire and game plan to move forward and we told him what our game plan was and it was in the best interest of both to allow him to meet his goals in the future.”

Attias admitted he expected Landis would sign a contract with the team’s management company for the 2010 season. Landis had returned to cycling at the start of 2009 with OUCH-Maxxis after finishing a two-year suspension following a protracted legal battle over urine test results from the 2006 Tour de France.

“We did expect him to ride in 2010,” Attias said. “We planned on having him on board. It was a little bit of a surprise but he is a big talent. When he is firing on all cylinders he is really strong and he thinks big. He is working his way back from that hip procedure. This was the first year back after two years and we saw glimmers of greatness in him.”

Landis has a desire to compete in longer stage races in Europe that better suited his former reputation of being amongst the top general classification riders in the world, according to Attias. The American rider recently ruled out a return to the sport’s top stage race, the Tour de France.

“He had more success in that area and he wanted to do more international races too,” Attias said. “Our team has a US focus. We wish him nothing but the best. He came on board and really helped us patch a hole, so to speak. We had a great season and we are sorry he won’t be with us next year.”

Landis’ presence on the squad brought title sponsor OUCH on board to void a financial hole left by former long-term sponsors Health Net. He underwent an unconventional hip replacement with OUCH Sports Medical Centre, needed after a case of bone death that resulted from excessive scar tissue which blocked blood flow to the hip joint.

“To have a guy that has won the Tour on our team was another level for us and he gave leadership and direction,” said Attias who expressed gratitude for Landis’ involvement with the team. “He has an all or nothing attitude. He gave his all and that gave something to the other riders to show them how to go all in.

“He was a solid guy all around,” he added. “He did a good bit of media for us. It was a positive and a learning experience for both of us. We’ve never had someone of that stature in our program. We learned how to work with that level and he learned how to work with us so it was a nice relationship overall. He was always friendly and brought great sponsors.”

Landis won the 2006 Tour de France with Phonak Hearing Systems, however was stripped of the title following a positive urine sample.

OUCH Sports Medical Centre will not continue to sponsor Attias’ team in 2010. While Attias said OUCH has been replaced by a new title sponsor to be announced at a later date, a recent Continental license application to USA Cycling had the team’s name as UnitedHealthcare presented by Maxxis.

“OUCH is not moving forward in 2010 with us. I don’t know what OUCH will do now,” he said. “We have a new title sponsor all lined up and we are just finalising minor details. We’ve kept over half of our squad and brought in a few young guys.”

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How could we loose this? We can't!

TD Bank confirms three-year extension with Philly

Kirsten Robbins
November 13, 11:08,
November 13, 00:15
Riders pass under the Philly skyline.

Riders pass under the Philly skyline.

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Organiser promises rider prizes will be paid

TD Bank has renewed as title sponsor of the Philadelphia International Championships for a three year term. Dave Chauner, president of the event’s organising committee Pro Cycling Tour (PCT), welcomed the sponsorship extension after the economic downturn pushed the United States of America’s iconic 250-kilometre one-day classic to the brink of collapse.

“They worked with us and many of the same people with Commerce Bank realised what a valuable branding opportunity it was,” Chauner said. “It doesn’t make sense to do it for one year and keep changing. We insisted on a three-year contract with our sponsors. We are still crawling out of the economic downturn but we are seeing a lot of interest in other sponsorships. I’m very optimistic about next year.”

Next year will be TD Bank Philadelphia International Championships 26th season. Formerly the USPRO Championships, it has undergone three name changes in the last decade. It began as the CoorStates and was passed to First Union in 1998, and then Wachovia in 2002 and finally Commerce Bank in 2006. Last year Canadian bank Toronto Dominion (TD) bought the Commerce Bank and inherited the final year of a four-year term to sponsor the bike race.

According to Chauner, it costs two million dollars to run the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championships. The race fell into jeopardy in August of 2008 when the city of Philadelphia requested the PCT cover nearly $250,000 in costs for police road closures and other city fees. The event also lost $225,000 from long-term sponsors CSC and last year’s sponsor Rock Racing.

Furthermore the tough economic crisis precluded long-time broadcasters WPVI-TV from televising the race. “I think the race ran extremely smooth and it was as good of a race as we’ve ever had,” Chauner said. “In order to keep the event the way it was in the past, we have to get back to live TV. National and international coverage and that is what we’ve secured.”

The Pro Cycling Tour confirmed the development of a new media partner to be announced at a later date. “We restructured and worked a relationship with a major media partner to bring the race back to live status which will be a major support for the event,” Chauner said. “We are creating a broader interest and more awareness of this event. I think this new media partner is going to be huge.”

No contract has been signed to date but Chauner is optimistic that the media partner will sign the dotted line soon. “Yes, it’s for sure,” he said. “The ink isn’t on the paper yet but all deals are negotiated and the contract is in their hand. We have no reason to believe they won’t sign.”

Chauner admitted that the Pro Cycling Tour has outstanding payments to make and the majority of those debts are owed in rider-prize funds. “We will pay them,” Chauner said. “We have to wait anyway until all drug testing is back before we can pay prize money, usually in the fourth quarter. Its normal but, it is later than we would have liked and they will be paid.”

At this point in time PCT will not bring back the Triple Crown series in 2010. The series included three events held over one week that began with the Lehigh Valley Classic Classic followed by the Reading Classic and concluded with the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championships. “We have no plans to add the other two races back next year,” Chauner said. “We will keep our eyes open for additional sponsorship and we want to get that back on track for 2011.”

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