Team Columbia-Highroad Announces 2009 Tour de France Roster and New Sponsor
Team Columbia-Highroad earlier today announced that it has signed a new co-sponsor starting with the 2009 Tour de France. The team also confirmed its logical intention to continue its winning success of the 2009 season in the Tour De France, which begins in Monaco on July 4. The team enters the race with the most wins of the 2009 season with 49 to date, including 6 National Championship Titles.
Team manager Rolf Aldag and owner Bob Stapleton revealed the final nine riders who will line up at the 2009 Tour de France under the new name Team Columbia-HTC.
Aldag called it the "toughest decision of the year, as we had 15 guys who deserved to be on our Tour De France team. It was difficult to personally disappoint these fine athletes," Aldag added, "ultimately we succeed as a team, and we chose the combination of those athletes that give us the greatest combined opportunity for success for this course and the expected competition".
The roster for the 2009 Tour de France includes quadruple stage winner of the 2008 Tour de France Mark Cavendish (UK) and 2008 yellow and green jersey holder Kim Kirchen (LUX). Road Captain George Hincapie (USA) will be lining up for his 14th consecutive Tour de France. The team will also feature Australian Michael Rogers, who placed 8th in the recent Giro D'Italia and is a three time former World Time Trial Champion.
Young German Tony Martin will make his Tour de France debut after a very successful Tour de Suisse where he won a stage and the mountains classification. Support will come from Bernhard Eisel (AUT) who also won at stage at Tour de Suisse, promising general classification rider Maxime Monfort (BEL), lead-out specialist Mark Renshaw (AUS), and current World Time Trial Champion Bert Grabsch (GER).
"High Road Sports is elated to be partnering with HTC, a recognized leader and growing global brand in mobile phones," said Bob Stapleton, Owner of Team Columbia-HTC. "Team Columbia-HTC is now sponsored by two leading companies in their related industries and we are ready to show the growing power of our partnership at this year's Tour de France," he added.
"We're looking forward to the Grand Depart in Monaco where we will start our first race as Columbia-HTC and our new co-title sponsor HTC will be on location to witness the great spectacle of the Tour de France," Stapleton added. "We hope we can achieve the same kind of success at the Tour that we have enjoyed thus far in 2009."
"The HTC High Road Sports partnership is a great match of like minded organizations driven by innovation, excellence and competitiveness and we are excited about the opportunity to communicate HTC's brand value through the great sport of cycling," said Peter Chou, chief executive officer, HTC Corporation. "HTC's sponsorship of Team Columbia-HTC is one step in HTC's commitment to increasing its global brand value and recognition."