Scicon Sports has ended its sponsorship of the Astana Qazaqstan WorldTour team early because of Mark Cavendish‘s choice of sunglasses.
Cav, who has had a longstanding deal with Oakley, joined the team over the winter, fuelling speculation as to what would happen with his existing personal sponsorship deals.
Although when he rode for QuickStep Alpha Vinyl he switched his shoes from his Nike partnership to the team-issue Specialized ones, at Astana he has continued to wear his signature Oakley sunglasses rather than those provided by Scicon, and several of his teammates followed suit, bagging themselves Oakley glasses.
This understandably ticked off the brand and it has now pulled its entire sponsorship deal including glasses, luggage and bike bags.
Heinrich Dannhauser, Scicon CEO, said, ‘It is unfortunate that individual riders can compromise sponsorship agreements in this way. It is even more unfortunate that a team would not stand up for what is ethically the right thing to do – honouring the agreement and recognising the significant investments that were made by Scicon.
‘We took a strong stance in this case and could not make an exception for one rider and believe all sponsors of professional cycling should take note.’
Scicon will have to settle for UAE Team Emirates and Tadej Pogačar for its TV exposure then. Shame.
Main image: Sprint Cycling via Astana