By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Toshiba today announced a sponsorship deal with Australia’s national cycling team, The Cyclones, and will also fund the new Team Toshiba to give Australia a better chance at gold in next year’s Olympic Games.

According to Toshiba, the formation of Team Toshiba, which will be funded purely by the consumer electronics maker, could boost Australia’s chances of getting gold in Beijing 2008 cycling events by enabling more Australian cyclists to try out for the Olympics.

“Toshiba’s support will provide extra pedalling power for our athletes and give more of our talented cyclists an opportunity to shine,” said Cycling Australia CEO, Graham Fredericks.

“As an organisation we feel Australia’s chances heading towards the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are heightened dramatically with Toshiba’s support.”

Team Toshiba will be an Australia professional track cycling team and will debut at the end of this month during the Sydney round of the 2007-2008 UIC World Cup Classic, which will see over 400 riders from 48 nations descend on the city on 30 November for 17 events.

Not missing an opportunity to sneak Toshiba’s new brand slogan ‘pure intensity’ into his announcement, Toshiba general manager, Mark Whittard, commented, “the pure intensity of Toshiba’s full product range aligns perfectly well with the speed, skill and excitement of cycling sport. As a company, we feel an enormous sense of pride to be able to assist Australian cyclists further their careers and attempt to secure gold around the globe.”

Toshiba is confident its sponsorship of an undisclosed sum will help boost the sport, which according to the company is enjoying ‘enormous popularity’ in Australia with two in five Australians owning a bicycle.

Team Toshiba will boast a stellar line up of Australian talent including dual Olympic gold medallist, Ryan Bayley and reigning Olympic and World Champion, Anna Meares.

“It’s fabulous that Toshiba is backing the track program and I know the support they give us will be crucial in our bid for gold,” said Meares.

“Team Toshiba has an outstanding roster of experienced performers and some promising young talent and I expect we’ll post some great results during the season.”