Mountain bike sponsorship gets a pickup

Cycling’s international governing body the UCI has announced Mercedes-Benz as new title sponsor for World Cup and World Championship mountain biking.

>>> UCI regains control of mountain bike Facebook page after hackers spam indecent links

This brings an end to Shimano’s sponsorship that has been in place since 2013 when the Japanese component giant took over from the frankly bizarre tenure of RockyRoads as title sponsor (remember them?)

Mercedes-Benz isn’t the first time a car manufacturer has been a sponsor of UCI top-level events; Nissan were sponsors from 2007 through 2009.

What will this mean for the 2018 race season and beyond (the contract is until 2020)? Not a lot really. The show will carry on as before. It doesn’t affect Red Bull TV’s broadcasting rights as far as we can tell. The venues will remain as ever too.

Perhaps with the occasional Mercedes-Benz truck stuck at the side of the race tape, or used as the ‘Hot seat’ stand? Mercedes-Benz have a new pick-up truck that we’re guessing this ‘outdoors/extreme sports’ sponsorship deal will be targeted for.

Let’s hope that Merc are spending big bucks to support mountain biking and this financial boost to the UCI’s coffers gets reflected in a boost of interest in MTB from the UCI.

Press release from the UCI

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and Mercedes-Benz Vans are delighted to announce a partnership, which will see the German manufacturer become the top-tier partner of the Mountain Bike discipline.

For three years, beginning in 2018, Mercedes-Benz will be presenting sponsor of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships and title sponsor of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.

In addition, the German brand will work alongside the organisers of every UCI World Championships and every round of the UCI World Cup series by providing a fleet of the latest additions to its range of X-Class pickups to help with the course preparation, as well as V-Class MPVs (multi-purpose vehicles) to provide shuttle services.

In order to support the global launch of the X-Class, Mercedes-Benz Vans had been looking to increase its presence within outdoor sports and in particular within Mountain Bike, which has a very active community and competitions held all across the world.

This partnership with the Stuttgart-based manufacturer provides further confirmation of the growing interest in cycling amongst major brands and media partners. Following the Swiss watchmaker Tissot, (subsidiary of Swatch Group) with track cycling, and the media group Telenet (subsidiary of the American Liberty Global group) with cyclo-cross, Mercedes-Benz Vans becomes the third title sponsor of a UCI World Cup.

UCI President David Lappartient said: “This partnership provides an excellent opportunity for us to accelerate the development of Mountain Bike, one of our flagship disciplines. Our events will benefit from the brand’s global reputation and knowledge. That a manufacturer of the calibre of Mercedes-Benz has chosen to invest in cycling is evidence that our sport is attractive to major economic players, who select our events to launch their new products. We are delighted with the trust shown by Mercedes-Benz in our Federation, our discipline, and our major events.”