Twinlab Corporation, a New York-based manufacturer of sports nutrition supplements, has announced a sponsorship deal with Adageo Energy Pro Cycling Team, a new US-based men's team.
Twinlab made its initial reputation sponsoring bodybuilding athletes. And as big as that market was (both figuratively and literally), the company sought broader avenues for growth. As the company diversified from products aimed at strength athletes into products targeted at endurance competitors, they sought new ways to get the word out.
"We decided to move away from bodybuilding and more into multisport," said Twinlab Marketing Director Marc Stover. "We decided to get our feet wet in a whole bunch of sports."
The Adageo connection came from a chance encounter at the Interbike trade show last fall in Las Vegas.
"We had a booth at Interbike and an Adageo rider stopped in," Stover said. Through that encounter he met with team leader and senior rider Josh Horowitz and the two hit it off.
"It was the right deal at the right time," Stover said.
Stover said Twinlab was excited to get involved with a team at the ground level. Cycling, Stover said, offers "a demographic that is certainly a business opportunity for us. Cycling participants and fans tend to be older and more affluent."
"I was looking to bring in sponsors that would strengthen the program from a training and coaching point of view," said Horowitz. "It was important to me to find a brand that offered cutting edge formulas to support athletic and nutritional excellence and that is what Twinlab does."
The Adageo team will participate in a variety of national-class races, mostly in California, and is hoping to receive an invite to the Tour of California in May, which attracts the world's top pro teams.
Stover said Twinlab is supplying the team with a range of branded products including Omega-3s, Nitric Fuel, Endurance Fuel, Electrolyte Fuel and Pure Fuel.
Twinlabs' Endurance Fuel powered drink supplement mix touts a three-part functionality with antioxidants to protect muscles during exercise, a variety of carbohydrates to provide both quick and sustained energy and whey and casein proteins to promote quick recovery.
In addition to the Adageo team, Twinlab sponsors world-class US hurdler Lolo Jones and up-and-coming bodybuilder Todd Jewel.
Cycling, track-and-field and bodybuilding are three of the sports beset for years by cases of abuse of performance-enhancing drugs, including EPO, steroids and various hormones. As such, being involved in those sports carries an inherent risk for a sponsor who is a supplement manufacturer. What if a sponsored athlete fails a drug test?
"Anybody's who's got their name on their jersey will be concerned," Stover said. And, he added, supplements are an easy scapegoat.
"We require contractually that any athlete we sponsor is completely clean. We want to connect with athletes, but we want to connect with the right athletes," Stover said.
"It's well worth the risk," he said.