Fuji Bikes has announced that it will be the official bike sponsor of the highest ranked German professional cycling team, Team NetApp-Endura, for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
With a deal penned at Eurobike in Friedrichshafen, Germany, on Friday 31 August, the 2-year sponsorship agreement marks Fuji’s re-entry into the top level of pro tour racing after its tumultuous season with Geox-TMC in 2011. The season culminated with Juan Jose Cobo’s grand tour win at the Vuelta a España but came to a crashing halt when the team’s title sponsors chose to exit the sport, leaving riders, staff and other sponsors in a late-year scramble to find new homes for 2012.
“I truly believe that as a brand in the competitive world of premium bicycle manufacturing, sponsorship of top teams and top riders is crucial to establishing credibility for our products,” said Karen Bliss, VP of Marketing at Advanced Sports International (ASI) – parent company of Fuji Bikes. “And it’s equally vital to our product development. These riders provide us with the information that allows us to produce the best bicycles in the world.”
“With NetApp-Endura, we have the opportunity to be ‘in the game’ again, as well as boost our European sales strategy,” said Armin van Hoogstraten, General Manager of Advanced Sports GmbH, headquartered in Mutlangen, Germany. “Now on board with reliable, organized partners and the best professional cycling team in the country, we will be able to further grow the Fuji brand, especially in Germany.”
Established in 2010 as a German pro continental team, NetApp produced its best season this year, tallying 10 wins and two Giro d’Italia stage podiums. The team hopes to have a chance at a wildcard pick for the 2013 Tour de France.
The 20-rider 2013 squad, to be announced in the coming weeks, will ride Fuji’s grand tour-winning Altamira, a frame manufactured using Fuji’s unique High Compaction (HC) moulding process that eliminates wrinkles and excess resin build-up in the carbon fibre layers – giving the frame more strength in crucial joint areas, such as the bottom bracket and head tube junctions, and reducing weight.
ETC chainstays, a tapered head tube, BB86 bottom bracket, and super-thin seatstays make it an all-around competition platform that aims to excel on the climbs.
Fuji’s SST will also be available to riders. Designed for explosive sprinters who need a super stiff frame that can handle the rigours of the spring Classics and the direct-connect acceleration required in the final sprint, the SST features Fuji’s patented RIB (Reinforced I-Beam) technology in the fork and downtube, which amplifies stiffness for a more responsive ride and steering precision. Its aero-shaped tubes offer torsional rigidity, and its ETC asymmetrical chainstays offset drivetrain-induced flex for superior power transfer.
In addition to Fuji, the NetApp-Endura team will also race road bars, seatposts, stems and aero bars from Oval Concepts, a premium components brand owned by Fuji parent company ASI.
“The team will get their pick from our vast line of components designed to provide optimal fit for each rider’s needs,” said John Solinsky, Oval Concepts Product and Brand Manager.
Additional technical sponsors include Shimano components and Vittoria tires. Other sponsors will be announced at the end of the month.
Established in 1899, the Fuji brand is one of the oldest surviving bicycle brands in the world. Guided by three core principles – strength, heritage and passion – Fuji’s steadfast philosophy in utilizing the most advanced technology and incorporating elite athlete input into its high-performance products has enabled the brand to endure.
Fuji offers a complete line of premium bikes – road specialty, mountain, women’s, kids, urban, transportation comfort, and cruiser – through its network of specialty bicycle retailers across the globe.