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Mrs John Murphy

Rural Banks and Cycling

Does anyone know the history of rural banks - ie banks set up for the rural population/credit unions and their involvement in cycling.

Rabobank
Credit Agricole
Caja Rural

Caisse maybe considered as an example. Are there any earlier examples?

The odd thing is that their involvement in cycling sponsorship is quite recent rather than a holdover from when the banks really were 'rural banks' for the peasantry.
Fontfroide

Having a rough idea about CA, partly as it is one of "my bank(s)", I read the Wiki articles on the history of the bank, and on the history of the cycling team.  I realised I don't have much to add.

Is there anything in particular you wanted to know or a specific question you wondered about?  By the time CA sponsored a cycling team, it was pretty much "a bank", if organised in a slightly decentralised way.

I cannot help at all with Rabobank or Caja Rural.
Bartali

Does Banesto count?
Mrs John Murphy

I am wondering if there is a longer history of rural banks sponsoring cycling back in say the 60s-70s etc or even earlier as race sponsors?

Is it just a coincidence that rural banks have been involved in cycling or have they always been involved?

I know that there is a supposed connection between cycling and rural communities.

I'm wondering if anyone has written about it?
Nolte

It is an interesting question.

I kniw there had been a ban on non-cycling related sponsors for teams for some time which might have affected it.

In small communities, there tends to be a dominant company, the next one (much more rural than my own) to me there is a big fruit and veg company who sponsor both the gaelige football and soccer club in the parish.

Maybe it is still related to the 60s but indirectly that when rabobank or credit agricole, the decision maker would have grown up in that era and so the roots of the rural upbringing may have an effect on their decision to sponsor the team.

Often i think with alot of cycling sponsors, its that guy at the top, likes cycling so they sponsor the team more so for their love of the sport than economic benefits it brings, it is the case i think with both tinkoff and the czech guy who sponsors etixx
Bartali

I've not double checked this, but wasn't Magni famous for negotiating the first non-cycling manufacturer sponsorship?  Nivea (face cream) I think?  So that would  be late 40s / early 50s.  Interesting question ...
Mrs John Murphy

Bartali wrote:
Does Banesto count?


I am not overly certain that they would.

The thing about Rabo, CA, Caja and also Reiffesen (sp) is that they were banks designed specifically to provide credit to peasants (small holding farmers, landless, tenant farmers etc) - those who were at subsistence levels with a view to improving their conditions.

There were I know a lot that were set up around rural syndicats in France in the interwar period. (Many were wiped out in the great depression).

Did Mussolini set up something similar in Italy given that his early supporters were peasants/farmers from the Po valley?

Which actually does open up an interesting secondary question about cycling and fascism in Italy and Spain.
Fontfroide

I think the point about non-cycling sponsors not being present until the 50s and even then in small numbers might have something to do with ALL bank sponsorship.  Certainly CA did not get into it until the 1997 when they took over from Peugeot, actually Roger Legeay.  Reminded of those dates by Wiki on Credit Agricole Cycling.  My own impression is that banks got into the sponsorship business like many other businesses, for the exact same reasons.  Banesto was into it before CA, for example.  It is well-known that for the amount you spend to sponsor a team you get a tremendously superb return in terms of product recognition.  Its a good deal.  So for my money there is not much in it, on the surface (underneath, with serious research, one often finds non-obvious perspectives of course) Banesto, Credit Lyonnais, etc act much the same as CA, Caja Rural and Rabo.  A bank is a bank.  Rural or not.  Santander, Barclays, Saxo, Just some of many other sponsors.

I beginning of a list of sponsors so one can get a perspective on how many, what businesses, are banks more numerous etc might be

http://www.bikeraceinfo.com/riderhistories/sponsors-directory.html

I could be wrong though and cannot help at all with any kind of detailed research.  Must be an academic search engine that would find any article with "bank" and "cycling" in it.
Nolte

Mrs John Murphy wrote:

Did Mussolini set up something similar in Italy given that his early supporters were peasants/farmers from the Po valley?

Which actually does open up an interesting secondary question about cycling and fascism in Italy and Spain.


i read a novel set in italy ("the mussolini canal" by antonio penacchi. good book) around this time about a sharefarmer family who were moved to the po vally/pontine marshes.

my understanding from the novel is that peasant famer families were given land in the reclaimed marshlands  by the fascist state for being members of the fascist party, this saw the creation of the province of littoria (now latina) in the lazio region

according to this presentation by skalla marketing

Quote:
Sponsorship- Tour de France in 1997 - Aided brand awareness growth from 30% to 70% in 2 yrs. - Increased sales revenues over 1billion after 1998 & 1999 Tour de France
http://www.slideshare.net/eskalla/cofidis

while also on cofidis

Quote:
Announcing the deal, Thierry Vittu, Human Resources manager of the Groupe Cofidis Participations, said that the team continued to achieve the sponsorship goals, including maintaining and promoting awareness of the company’s services, as well as helping the brand appear more ‘human’.


www.velonation.com/News/ID/12002/Cofidis-extends-sponsorship-until-2016.aspx

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