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Circus & Ardent Group reinforce the pyramid of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert

Ardent Group will reinforce its presence alongside team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert through its flagship brand Circus, by investing transversally in the pyramid of the Walloon team. A stronger backing of the World Team, title partnership of the new UCI Continental team and sponsorship of the development of young talents through the Ardent Group Cycling Academy are some of the commitments of the group from Liège for 2023.

The announcement was revealed this Friday in the Dôme of Charleroi by Nicolas Léonard, Director and CFO of Ardent Group, in presence of the Minister-President of Wallonia Elio di Rupo, the Minister of Sports of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles Valérie Glatigny and of the Walloon Minister of Budget and Sports Infrastructure Adrien Dolimont and on the occasion of the fourth gala evening of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. Ardent Group wishes to contribute actively to the development of the cycling club, from which it is a partner for five years already, by supporting the different levels of the pyramid.

This support is translated in an investment on three major pillars.

On top, the World Team will change its name from 2023. Circus, the visible sponsor on the back of the bib shorts of the professional team since 2017 and first title partner in 2020, returns as official name sponsor of the UCI World Team in the beginning of next year. Intermarché-Circus-Wanty will again aim for the top after concluding the 2022 campaign in fifth place in the world ranking and securing three supplementary years in the World Tour.

The education of young talents isn’t lacking. The Ardent Group Cycling Academy, which was launched in the autumn of 2021, is the Walloon centre for cycling skills and expertise developed by the World Tour structure of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. The mission of this academy, receiving support from Ardent Group since the start, is to revitalize the basis of the cycling pyramid, for example by supporting numerous cycling clubs which are affiliated to the Fédération cycliste Wallonie-Bruxelles. During the gala evening of 2021, more than 20.000 euros were distributed to eight Walloon clubs in the form of equipment, vouchers or funding. The campaign has been relaunched this Friday to continue supporting the educating clubs, the schools and their educators.

To complete its pyramid, a new UCI Continental Development team will see the day in 2023 under the direction of the newly retired sports director from Liège Kévin Van Melsen. Circus is mindful about a transversal support in the cycling world and will become the first title partner of this new team, which will contain fifteen young Walloon, Belgian and international talents.

« Our group has always had at heart to contribute to the community and sports life of our country. The last couple of years we’ve grown explosively on an international level, but our major mission remains to conserve our important local anchoring. Strengthening our partnership with a team which we support for five years already by participating actively to the development of all echelons of its pyramid is the perfect representation of how we consider our investments in the universe of sports. » « It is with this mindset that we launched the Ardent Group Cycling Academy, in extension of our support to the World Team and as a complement to our commitment to sport. The education, the talent detection and the creation of an expertise and cycling skills centre are an integral part of the philosophy of our group. We implement it in our own companies with which we achieve a remarkable international growth. So we were naturally convinced about the importance to trace this principle to the world of sports and to cycling in this case, with the goal of enabling the youth to find an open door and to break through on a professional level in cycling and at the same time also of showing our region and our country on the international scene. » « In parallel to this, it is a real pride to be able to confirm today our confidence towards the World Team by returning as the second sponsor in 2023. Indeed, next to the fifth place in the world ranking, it seemed essential to support this team as it is a true Belgian and Walloon showcase in an international landscape. »

« We made a step forward this season. Both on the sports side with 24 victories and a fifth place in the UCI world ranking as on our projects. Indeed, we worked to launch a development structure which will be operative from January 2023, competing the Ardent Group Cycling Academy. The creation of this team is a true step forward in our commitment to support young cyclists. The team will be directed by Kévin Van Melsen, aiming to form riders younger than 23 year old in professional circumstances to join the World Team on the short and long term. Next to this team, we strive more than ever to support the Walloon amateur clubs, like we did at the end of 2021 with a distribution of more than 20 000 euros. » « I’m also looking forward to the return of Circus in the naming of our team. Circus is a solid group, which doesn’t cease to grow on the international scene without forgetting its Walloon roots. With this regard, our histories are similar and full of sense. We’re pleased to be able to work with such a big player and sponsor of Belgian sport like Circus, which is concerned about both the elite and the base. I’m convinced that this new step will boost our project, which aims to confirm the international status which was achieved in 2022 with Intermarché-Circus-Wanty. »

As flagship brand of Gaming1 – the entertainment branch of Ardent Group – is Circus a major player in the gambling market and sports betting industry and is also present in six other countries. The brand, which is visible on the back of the bib shorts of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert since 2017, is a key player in Belgian sports. Circus, a historical partner of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, is also present in football as sponsor of Standard de Liège and KAA Gent and in basketball with Circus Brussels Basketball or recently in padel with the Circus World Padel Tour taking place in Tour & Taxis last May. By becoming title partner of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty aiming to strengthen the international status of the team, Circus stays loyal to its will of accompanying black-yellow-red projects in the long run and of supporting all levels of sports.

About CIRCUS : 
Circus is a game brand from Liège that was created and is managed by Gaming1, who have 30 years of experience in the technology and entertainment field. Their activities are focused on both land-based and online casino games and sports betting. In Belgium, Circus is the market leader in their sector with the website, and around 30 gaming halls throughout the country.

Circus has a very large range of casino games: slot machines, dice games, poker, blackjack and roulette. In the sports betting sector, around 30 sports are offered in more than 20,000 sporting events per month, with the possibility to bet before matches or LIVE, and even take part in tournaments.

As well as being 100% legal and authorized by the Belgian Gaming Commission, Circus conforms to the BGC recommendations and has put in place a strong responsible gaming policy to ensure a safe gaming environment for all their players. The A, B+, F1 and F2 licenses granted to Circus.beauthorize it to operate legally in the game of chance, gambling and sports betting sector. As all the brands managed by Gaming1, Circus exclusively operates on regulated markets. The permits required in the various countries have all been granted by the competent authorities.

About Ardent Group:

Ardent Group is an association of families of investors from Liège. These families share common values of stability, proximity, curiosity and loyalty and they are always striving to actively and responsibly boost the economy in Wallonia through entrepreneurial and societal projects.

The group is active in various industries including leisure (Belgian game of chance leader), technology development, real estate, LED signage, energy and beer and has around 1,650 employees. 


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