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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 6 April, 2020

Team Sky's future in doubt as Sky to end involvement in cycling after 2019 season

The team are on the hunt for a new backer from 2020 onward.

Team Sky riders Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome (file pic).
Team Sky riders Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome (file pic).
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

2019 WILL BE Sky’s final year of involvement in cycling, plunging the future of Team Sky into doubt after over a decade of success.

Executives at the giant broadcaster have made the decision to end their investment in professional cycling — and ultimately the ownership and sponsorship of the team — meaning Team Sky now face a search for a new owner and sponsor ahead of the 2020 season.

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome and holder Geraint Thomas, along with other team members, were reportedly told of the decision in Mallorca overnight.

Irish rider Philip Deignan meanwhile had represented Team Sky since 2014, but retired from professional cycling late last month.

While there has been no shortage of success for the team, from 322 all-time wins including eight Grand Tours to 52 other stage races and 25 one-day races, there has also been a fair bit of controversy through the years — especially surrounding Bradley Wiggins and Dave Brailsford.

Sky’s decision to step back from cycling at the end of 2019 comes as the company begins a new phase in its development. 21st Century Fox has also confirmed that its involvement will also end next year.

“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,” Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s Group Chief Executive, said.

“But the end of 2019 is the right time for us to move on as we open a new chapter in Sky’s story and turn our focus to different initiatives including our Sky Ocean Rescue campaign.

“I’d like to pay a special tribute to Dave Brailsford and the immensely talented team of riders and staff he has assembled at Team Sky. What they have achieved together would have been beyond the dreams of many just a few years ago. We thank you for joining with us on this journey and look forward to enjoying our last season of racing together.

“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. For now, I would like to thank all Team Sky riders and staff, past and present – and above all the fans who have supported us on this adventure.

“We aren’t finished yet by any means. There is another exciting year of racing ahead of us and we will be doing everything we can to deliver more Team Sky success in 2019.”

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Emma Duffy

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