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– Skiing is a micro-sport in a global context



VISMA TOP: Øystein Moan has been the CEO of Visma for 22 years. Here he is outside the Jumbo-Wismah bus on Wednesday morning. The Norwegian Amund Grondal Jansen is in the background. Photo: Anders K. Christiansen, VG

COLMAR (VG) The Norwegian IT company Visma spits Norwegian 200 million in the Tour de France team for Amund Grøndahl Jansen (25). And they're sure it's worth the money.

First, Jumbo-Visma rider Mike Teunissen won the first match in Brussels. Subsequently, team trophies became day after day, and another day in the yellow hat.

This is golden value for the Norwegian IT company Visma, which strives to grow significantly in the Netherlands, but also in Belgium and Luxembourg over the next few years.

– The two days gave us value for money when it comes to a marketing effect. In the Netherlands, as in much of Europe, there is nothing to give us more exposure than to win the first two stages of the Tour de France, says Øystein Moan.

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He is an executive vice president at Visma and meets VG outside the bus to the cycling team he decided to support after a meeting with Jumbo's leadership last year. The Dutch food giant has 120,000 employees and Visma is already delivering HR and HR systems to the company.

When he opened the opportunity to become a co-sponsor, he decided "for a second".

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He does not want to comment on the amounts, but VG knows that Visma pays around NOK 40 million a year as a sponsor named.

The agreement covers five years, with the possibility of extension. This means that the common border will be about NOK 200 million.

– There is a lot of money in the Norwegian context. Aker and Kjell Inge Røkke Røkke spent NOK 15 million annually – 60 million in four years – during Norwegian cross-country skiing?

– Yes. But when you are here in France, you understand cross-country is a micro-sport in the world. We are businessmen and we do not do that as a hobby. We are doing this completely cold, rational business decision, says the top-top.

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Because of the order: Visma also sponsors the World Cup over long distances. It's called "Visma Ski Classics".

Behind Stone, Amund Grondal Jansen is preparing for a new stage carrying the Norwegian master coat. Moan meets the employees of the cycling team in the starting area in the small town of Saint-Die-Des-Vosges.

YELLOW GIRLS: Mike Teunissen won the first stage and defended the yellow jersey at the pace of the team in Brussels. Photo: Colin Flinton / GodingImages

He never thought of Hushovd

In this way, the desire of Visma to grow in the Netherlands and the surrounding countries that have become decisive.

That's why Thor Hushov's much-discussed project has never been an alternative. Neither is the commitment to Uno-X, which invests heavily these days. For Norway Visma is already well known.

– There are other companies in Norway who will be able to build a Norwegian professional team. I hope our commitment to this team means that other large Norwegian companies can see the value and see how great this sport is and what a great deal this sport brings, "says Moan to VG.

– Equinor (former Statoil) is at least ten times bigger than us. In addition, they spend far more money on sponsorship than on this rather expensive sponsorship. So it is clear that they can finance and build a Norwegian team if they wish. They obviously have resources for that, he adds.

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Thor Hushovd believes it's "awesome" that Visma chooses to sponsor bicycle sports. He hopes other Norwegian companies will see the effect of what is happening now.

Hushov also understands that Visma chose a Dutch law rather than himself:

– They will do business and will be big on a particular market. It is then natural to go to a team that is from there and have the best players from the BeNeLux countries, says TV2's expert at VG in France.

UNDERSTANDING THE VISION: Thor Hushovd even had the ambition to start a professional team but based in Norway. Photo: Anders K. Christiansen, VG

Previously, some warned not to sponsor bicycle sports because of all scandals in the environment. Øystein Moan does not bother:

– There is so much money in cycling sports for both riders and the team. There are so strict rules in the teams. There's so much money to lose if you do a doping. Therefore, the disadvantage is much greater than upward. In fact, I think this has become a pure sport. Probably there are other durable sports, not least winter sports … See how many doping scandals you've had in recent years. Last but not least, Norway's national legislation: skis. There are so many things that can be lost if taken for fraud, says Monroe.

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"But then, what can we win if we are first?"

"Yes, but good riders have a very good pay. Two-digit number millions.

"And that's why it's worth deceiving …"

– No, because you are deceived today, then it is forever. However, you keep your salary if you have two or three wins per year.

– Yes and no: Do ​​some teams have clear rules while others take ex-touch?

– This team has very clear rules. Our contract states that we have the right to withdraw immediately if a wrong event occurs. And then the team is ready. This is zero tolerance, emphasizes Moan.

READY FOR THE FOLLOWING VEHICLE: Øystein Moan followed yesterday as well as today's foot from the team's next car. Here he is in conversation with Dag Otto Laurisen before the scene on Wednesday. Photo: Anders K. Christiansen, VG

Yesterday and today he is sitting in the subsequent Jumbo-Visma car and follows Amund Grondal Jansen and the rest of the team to the end of the stages.

Øystein Moan likes what he has seen so far. In March, Visma, which has 9,500 employees and a turnover of NOK 11,3 billion, conducted the so-called brand study. In September, one must do the same and get an answer to the effect of Dutch bicycle sponsorship.

"But without being scientific, we already notice that knowledge is immense. It also has a great impact on employees, potential employees and customers who have already heard of Visma. Jumbo is also a strong brand in the Netherlands with which it connects well, says the head of Visma.

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