Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Scott gets right back in the peloton

Bike manufacturer signs on with U.S.-based pro team

Express Staff Writer

It took a mere two days for Ketchum-based bicycle manufacturer Scott to find a way to get pro tour riders back on its product in time for the 2009 season.

On Friday, the company announced that it had signed a deal with the U.S.-based Team Columbia for next year's season.

This comes right on the heels of last Wednesday's announcement that the company would be dropping its title sponsorship of the Scott-American Beef team, a decision stemming from a doping scandal that took place during July's Tour de France.

Adrian Montgomery, Scott USA's marketing and public relations director for the bike division, said he will go to Spain in November to help the team's riders transition to their new bikes.

"We were a step behind as most of the deals are made at the end of the Tour (de France)," Montgomery said. "This meant there was no time to hesitate and we had to put the pedal to the metal after dropping Saunier Duval."

Scott had been a sponsor of the Saunier Duval team since 2004. However, the German appliance manufacturer and title sponsor of the team pulled out of the sport altogether after the Tour de France, in which one of its riders, Riccardo Ricco, tested positive for a variant of the banned substance EPO.

Scott quickly moved in to continue support of the team, along with Mexican meat-packer American Beef, but made the decision to discontinue its sponsorship after the team was not invited to the Vuelta a España, the third and last of the Grand Tours that take place in Europe during the summer.

By teaming up with Columbia, Scott can hopefully avoid any future problems arising from blood doping.

The team, formerly known as High Road, has made one of the most public commitments of all 20 pro tour teams against blood doping, largely by implementing internal controls and tests.

Montgomery said that being part of a pro tour team is critically important for any major cycle manufacturer, as it provides the best means for testing and improving its products.

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