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Tech news flash for November 26, 2007

Edited by Paul Verkuylen

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Astana and SRAM confirm sponsorship agreement

By Cyclingnews Tech Editor James Huang

SRAM Global Marketing Director David Zimberoff and Astana General Manager
Photo ©: SRAM
(Click for larger image)

SRAM has added a second ProTour team to its sponsorship roster with the addition of the recently reinvigorated Astana team. According to a recent press release, Astana team members will train and race on the company's newest Red group, whose sub-2kg weight was said to be the primary draw for team manager Johan Bruyneel.

"Johan's proven leadership and legacy of success was the perfect opportunity for us to demonstrate the pure advantages of our road drivetrain and, most specifically, Red," said SRAM Global Marketing Director David Zimberoff. "Prior to the agreement we had Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer test ride Red groupsets and they gave enthusiastic thumbs up. That is the type of verification that excites us at SRAM and we are truly looking forward to 2008."

While the question of component sponsorship has now been answered, the team's frame and wheel sponsors have yet to be announced with official team training camps just weeks away. Assuming Astana will field the standard roster of 25-30 riders and exercise the standard practice of 3-4 bikes per rider, which means the as yet unnamed companies, will have to supply between 75 and 120 frames and the corresponding number of wheelsets.

Keeping in mind that those figures don't even include spares, the list of possible candidates that are capable of such a feat is understandably short. Rumours have abounded that Trek and Bruyneel have already reached some sort of agreement, which would come as no surprise to many as Astana has already absorbed much of the remains of the lame duck Discovery Channel team. Former team liaison Scott Daubert (now Trek's Road Brand Manager) would neither confirm nor deny that any formal agreement had been reached, but did say that the two parties had "already discussed possibilities."

Be that as it may, the timeline is growing increasingly short and some sort of formal sponsorship statement should be forthcoming from the team in the very near future. We'll continue to monitor the situation, but we'd certainly be surprised if Trek were absent from the 2008 ProTour.



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