Garmin GPS can’t locate BigMat sponsor.

BigMat turns into BigDisappointment.

As the Garmin GPS in my car likes to say, “Recalculating.”

The Argyle genius Jonathan Vaughters thought he had a major team co-sponsor in the French company BigMat but the deal fell through at the last minute. Mais c’est pas vrai!

You really have to wonder what happened as the clock ticked down. Did the French version of Home Depot suddenly decide that argyle was not fashionable? Did someone in upper management hate Vaughter’s long sideburns? Were they not impressed with his exceptional wine collection?

“We signed a binding letter of intent for BigMat to be the co-title sponsor of our team for next year. So we filed with the UCI under Garmin-BigMat but at that point in time, literally right as we were filing, BigMat told us that they were not going to make good on the agreement,” Slipstream’s Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews.

Sounds like BigMat should be renamed SmallMat — they just couldn’t pull the trigger on hooking up with one of the best run and most successful teams on the WorldTour. Talk is that the French company is now considering a sponsorship of Francaise des Jeux. That’s a big step down.

It’s also yet another comment on the sports’ financial difficulties. When the best team in the world, HTC-Highroad, folds for lack of a sponsor, when Radio Shack and Leopard merge and Geox pulls the plug, you’ve got serious issues. There is already talk that Saxo Bank may drop down to Pro Continental status if CAS rules against Alberto Contador and takes away his points.

As the cliche goes, that’s bike racing funding.

Garmin-Cervelo will go forward, left and right without BigMat, their estimated 3.5-5 million USD in potential sponsorship now filled by Garmin GPS boss Doug Ellis. But fear not — pro-active visionary UCI president Pat McQuaid knows how to fix these things.

In the meantime, Ellis and Jonathan Vaughters are certainly in the process of “recalculating.”

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