Portland-based Columbia Sportswear has announced that they have taken over sponsorship of Team High Road (formerly T-Mobile) and new jerseys with “Team Columbia” will debut at the start line of the Tour de France.
This would be first time a Portland company was a title sponsor of such a high-profile racing team. Team High Road is currently the ninth-ranked cycling team in the world and is has more wins in 2008 than any other team in pro cycling. The team also includes U.S. star George Hincapie.
In a press release (download below) sent out today, president and CEO of Columbia Tim Boyle said,
“By sponsoring one of the top men’s and women’s cycling teams in the world, we leverage the international popularity and broad media reach of the cycling sport among enthusiast and recreational audiences, promote Columbia’s outdoor brand leadership in Europe and the U.S…”
The sponsorship is a three-year deal running through 2010 (download press release here — 160K, PDF).
Columbia is not the first Portland company to have its name associated with the Tour de France. Southwest Portland-based Castelli USA was the official clothing supplier to the Saunier Duval-Prodir team last year. Chris King Precision Components, who makes their products in Northwest Portland is a regular in the pro peleton and their headsets were on board many of Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France winning bikes.