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SBD Global/December 17, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Tour De France Winner Froome Says Current Cyclists Have To Undo Damage

Tour de France winner Chris Froome says cheats have dampened sponsors interest.
Lance Armstrong and other cycling drug cheats have fundamentally undermined cycling’s ability to attract corporate sponsors, according to 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome, who is now looking to capitalize on his new-found fame and attract personal sponsors as he contemplates life after competitive cycling. Froome told SBD Global  potential sponsors had “been worried about getting involved in cycling and understandably so. ‘Why would you back a sport that could bring you a very negative reputation?’ The sport really has changed now, but unfortunately we are only just learning all that went on with our predecessors.” The 28-year-old Kenya-born Briton was the first man to win the Tour de France following Armstrong’s confession to doping his way to all seven of his Tour de France victories, and some experts believe the damage has hindered cyclists and teams from attracting sponsors.

UP TO THE NEXT GENERATION: Froome said it was up to the current crop of cyclists to “change the image and show people that it is a sport that can be credible and believed in going forward." Currently contracted to Team Sky in a £2M-a-year deal until '16, Froome is now thinking about his future earning power, given the relatively short sporting life of a top cyclist, and hinted that he would like to be a Sky brand ambassador once he retires, while securing one or two other personal sponsorship deals. He said that if “you have a few brands that you are really representing, it would be a natural fit to carry on with those brands” once you retire.

WAITING FOR OFFERS: Froome said he had not been offered a flurry of commercial opportunities following this year’s Tour de France victory, though it is thought that his contractual obligation with Team Sky means that his ability to work with other sponsors is restricted. But he is keen to up his profile in the U.K. -- and globally -- which is dwarfed by that of fellow Brit and Team Sky rider Bradley Wiggins. Commenting on this, Froome said, “I feel I am going to have to work on this in the future. I am a successful cyclist. But I am not going to rely on that to pay for my kids' lives.” Froome is unlikely to go down the route of boasting a portfolio of sponsorships, but said he would be comfortable working with one or two that fit well with him.
John Reynolds is a writer in London.
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