Published: Sat, December 15, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Sky to end involvement in Team Sky after 2019 season

Sky to end involvement in Team Sky after 2019 season

One of the most successful teams in professional cycling history is looking for a new sponsor after Sky announced its ownership and sponsorship of Team Sky will cease at the end of 2019.

Sky is set to withdraw from cycling following the European pay tv broadcaster's takeover by American company Comcast despite winning the Tour de France for a sixth time with Geraint Thomas this year.

Sky's decision comes in the wake of a £30billion takeover by USA cable company Comcast.

"While Sky will be moving on at the end of next year, the team is open minded about the future and the potential of working with a new partner, should the right opportunity present itself, " Team Sky general manager Dave Brailsford said.

"We aren't finished yet by any means", Brailsford promised.

But the likelihood of the team finding backers with the same deep pockets of Sky, who have ploughed more than £150million into the team, seems slim given the struggle other successful teams like Quick-Step Floors and BMC Racing have faced when seeking new sponsors of their own.

Froome has won four Tour titles at Sky, as well as the Giro d'Italia and La Vuelta A Espana, and was for a time the first man in over 30 years to hold all three Grand Tour leader's jerseys at once.

Chris Froome, a four-time Tour de France victor who has also won the other two Grand Tours - the Vuelta a España and Giro D'Italia in Team Sky colours, was also involved in a high-profile drugs case before being cleared. Cyclingnews sources say that 10 Team Sky riders earn more than €1 million per season.

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They said today that the British-based Team Sky will continue to race in 2020 under a different name if a new sponsorship backer can be found in time. If we can find a new long-term partner to take the Team forward into a new era, then we will do so.

However, Sky have certainly not acted like a team with an uncertain future in recent months and had spoken of having secured funding until 2024.

Sky spent 34.5 million pounds ($43 million) past year and generated only 6.7 million pounds ($8 million) in revenue that didn't come from the owners.

Other riders on Team Sky's books include current Tour de France victor Geraint Thomas, highly rated Colombian prospect Egan Bernal, Dutchman Wout Poels, England's Ian Stannard and Wales' Luke Rowe.

Team Sky's dominance of the cycling landscape has not been without controversy for an outfit backed by a huge budget that has strived to take the moral high ground with a zero-tolerance doping policy. "After more than a decade of involvement, I couldn't be prouder of what we've achieved with Team Sky and our long-standing partners at British Cycling". "Comcast are aware and supportive of what we have chose to do, but this is our decision not theirs".

Team Sky was launched in 2010 with Brailsford setting the goal of winning the Tour de France with a British rider within five years. The substance is banned in competition but legal out of it.

They said that both Wiggins and Team Sky had "crossed an ethical line".

In the summer, Thomas became the third Team Sky rider - as well as the third Briton - to win the Tour de France.

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