US bicycle manufacturer Cannondale has agreed a partnership with Slipstream Sports to replace GPS technology firm Garmin as the title sponsor of its UCI ProTour cycling team from 2015.
Under the agreement, Cannondale also becomes the technical bicycle sponsor of the team will take an ownership stake in Slipstream Sports.
Garmin has partnered Slipstream Sports since 2008 and will remain with the team in a non-title sponsor capacity.
Cannondale became a co-sponsor of the Liquigas-Cannondale Team in 2010, upgrading to title sponsor and owner when Cannondale Pro Cycling was established in 2010, but Slipstream chief executive Jonathan Vaughters insists the company’s latest move does not constitute a merger.
"Technically it's not a merger," Vaughters told Sky Sports. "It's still Slipstream Sports, LLC, as the owner and management of the team. Cannondale becomes a large shareholder. Slipstream chairman Doug Ellis remains the primary shareholder.
"Cannondale is an American team and their market is the American market. They are a company that wanted to stay in a leadership position and Slipstream Sports offered them the right path for that to happen."
Vaughters also explained that increased budgets on the UCI ProTour meant Garmin did not possess the required financial muscle to remain as title sponsor. "Garmin have a contract with us for next year, but it's not a title-level contract and while they'll be around for a while have done a great job to promote their product, marketing cycles do come to an end,” he added.
"They have been a great partner and will continue to be,” Vaughters continued. “However, team budgets have increased dramatically since 2008 and for the teams out there not supported by a national federation, a government or an extremely wealthy individual, in order for us to remain competitive, consolidating forces make sense."