Ever wonder just who those companies are that sponsor the teams in the Tour de France? For most of us who don’t follow pro cycling on a regular basis, the team names have an exotic European flavor we encounter once a year. I finally got fed up with seeing the names and not knowing their significance — so here we go.
- Cofidis — French — Consumer Credit. Offers customized consumer loans either by phone or over the Internet.
- Gerolsteiner — German — Bottled spring water.
- Agritubel — French — Worldwide provider and manufacturer of tubular metal products for cattle, livestock and farming.
- Silence-Lotto — Belgian — Lotto is the Belgian lottery. Silence is a brand name for Omega Pharma, a Belgian pharmaceutical company. Previous team names of Davitamon and Predictor were also brand names of Omega Pharma.
- Credit Agricole — French — Largest retail banking group in France. 8th largest in world.
- Saunier Duval-Scott — Spanish — Part of the Vaillant Group, manufacturing home hot water heaters, heating and air conditioning systems.
- Liquigas — Italian — Supplies liquified gas products in Italy.
- Euskaltel Euskadi — Basque — Basque telephone company. Euskadi is the Basque word for Basque.
- Quick Step Innergetic — Belgian — Laminate floor covering company. Innergetic is Europe’s leading manufacturer of latex foam mattresses, toppers and pillows for the bedding industry.
- Barloworld — U.K. — Team is registered in the U.K., but Barloworld is a South African brand management company, supplying heavy equipment (Caterpillar), automotive (Avis), warehouse equipment (Hyster), and logistics in a number of different countries.
- Ag2r-La Mondiale — French — Ag2r Group is a French-based interprofessional insurance and supplementary retirement fund group. The La Mondiale Group is a French-based international group for supplementary pension and estate planning insurance.
- Caisse d’Epargne — Spanish — The team is registered to Spain, but the sponsor is a French banking company.
- CSC-Saxobank — Danish — CSC is Computer Sciences Corporation, information technology services to businesses and governments. Saxobank is a Danish online investment bank.
- Rabobank — Dutch — Dutch cooperative bank, mostly in agribusiness. Set up as a federation of credit unions.
- Bouygues Telecom — French — Mobile telephone company.
- Francaise des Jeux — French — French national lottery.
- Milram — German — Milram brand of the Bremen-based Nordmilch company (dairy). Milk, butter, and cheese.
- Lampre — Italian — Manufacturer of prefinished steel sheet materials. Secondary sponsor Fondital is a manufacturer of home heaters and radiators.
Garmin-Chipotle (GPS navigation and a chain of Mexican food restaurants) and Columbia (sportswear) should already be known, at least to American biking fans.
Info from Wikipedia and the web sites of the companies. If I’m in error on any of the details, the fault lies with me.