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Belkin strike it lucky with Dutch lottery sponsorship

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A sponsorship deal with the Dutch national lottery operator guaranteed the Belkin cycling team's future on Wednesday.

The Lotto company will become the main sponsor of both the professional cycling team and a Dutch speed skating squad.

They will work closely together.

"This unique concept brings Holland's biggest high endurance sports together," said Richard Plugge, managing director of the Belkin team, hailing an agreement that will take effect in 2015 for an initial two years.

Details of the new team name, riders, colors and budget will be decided during the next few months.

Belkin placed second in the team classification for the Tour de France on Sunday, but they have had a difficult time commercially in recent years.

Long-standing sponsor Rabobank pulled out in 2012 after cycling was hit by a series of doping scandals.

Californian consumer electronics group Belkin ends its backing this year after coming on board in mid-2013.

Brand Loyalty, a company that runs customer loyalty schemes for retailers, already sponsors the speed skating team and will be the second main backer of the combined group.

Speed skating is a popular sport in the Netherlands, and Dutch skaters dominated the event at the Sochi Winter Olympics this year.

(Writing by Keith Weir in London, editing by Stephen Wood)

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