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Cycling Racing News and Opinion
July 30, 2014

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The Belkin cycling team's future for at least two more years is assured. The cycling team and a Dutch speed skating team will be sponsored by the Dutch National Lottery and Brand Loyalty, a firm that runs customer loyalty programs for retailers. The lottery will be the title sponsor.

Belkin, an American manufacturer of consumer electronics, had announced that it would not sponsor the team after the 2014 racing season. Several riders on the team were already in discussions with other teams, so the sponsorship announcement comes just in time.

Bauke Mollema

Belkin rider Bauke Mollema rides the stage 20 time trial. Photo ©Sirotti

Eurosport had some impressive viewership numbers during this year's Tour de France. More than 50 million people tuned in at some point to watch Vincenzo Nibali earn the biggest winning margi (7min 37sec over second-place Jean-Christophe Péraud) since Jan Ullrich roughly handled Richard Virenque in 1997 to win by 9min 9sec.

Eurosport added a daily pre-stage analysis by Greg LeMond, called "LeMond on Tour" which gathered 17.6 million pairs of eyeballs over the three weeks.

Of course, Italian viewers were tuned in to watch Nibali steadily build his winning margin. Italian Europsport Tour de France audiences were up 143 percent. And Poles in record numbers watched Rafal Majka win the Polka Dot jersey and show that some day he'll be in the hunt for yellow.

Thirty-three percent more Spaniards, hoping Alejandro Valverde would at last make it to the end of the Tour without running out of legs, were watching the Tour as well.

On average, 340,000 Germans watched their countrymen win seven stages, with the fourteenth stage finishing in Risoul (the day with the Lautaret and Izoard, won by Rafal Majka) gathering the most German viewers at 1.1 million.

Marcel Kittel

Marcel Kittel's spectacular sprinting attracted many German viewers. Photo ©Sirotti

Eurosport has the right to broadcast the Tour de France at least until 2019.

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