It seems we spoke too soon yesterday, when we said that Coca Cola are the only committed major title sponsor for this year’s tour.
Although they are contracted to sponsor the “White Jersey” for highest placed young rider until 2009, they are apparently downplaying all their other sponsorship and marketing of the event. The downturn comes – yes, you guessed it – on account of their doubts that the phenomenal performances of riders are the pure natural “real thing”.
Although Coke may no longer think the Tour “is it”, the Tour’s director-general, Jean-Marie Leblanc, announced major sponsorship for the 2001 event from French coffee brand – Cafes Grand Mere – though presumably this won’t result in caffeine being taken off the UCI banned substances list.
Rumours that Richard Virenque and Marco Pantani are already shortlisted to replace Gareth Hunt in a new series of “Special blend and roast” adverts are as yet unconfirmed.