HTC-Highroad have announced they will be ending sponsorship at the end of this season and the team will be folding.

Earlier this evening team manager Bob Stapleton told a small group of reporters, including Cycling Weekly, that the search for a new sponsor had been running up until this weekend and that deals with HTC had fallen through at the last minute.

“Our conclusion was that it was best to release the staff, athletes and riders from their contractual obligations.”

The news will increase speculation that Mark Cavendish and other top riders from the squad could be heading for Sky in 2012, but Stapleton ruled out that the rumours linking Cavendish and the British team had been a factor in their failure to find a sponsor.

“It was a chicken and egg situation. We are very proud of the success he has had, and if we could have secured funding in a timely manner we would have had a lot fewer problems in general.”

“It was not a defining factor in the search for a sponsor.”

Stapleton highlighted the fact that the team has racked up numerous wins this season with riders across the board.

“The team has had unmatched athletic success,” Stapleton said in a press release later that evening.

“The dedication shown by our athletes, management team and staff year after year has been exceptional.”

“Together they created one of the most successful teams in cycling’s history. Our athletes are the most sought after in the sport, and our management and staff are the most capable in cycling. They will lead new teams and the sport forward.”

“Helping to create the individual success of the people in our team has been the most important and enjoyable element of our management team. We wish everyone the best for the future.”

What next for Cavendish
Mark Cavendish, one of the world’s most sought-after cyclists, told the BBC earlier in the week that he had made his decision about his team for next year and beyond, but stopped short of naming that team.

The sprinter is out of contract at the end of the year and speculation over his future has been rife all year. This development is likely to be followed by Cavendish annoucing he will be a Sky rider in 2012.

Should he go to Sky he is almost certain to take Austrian Bernard Eisel with him. Eisel is Cavendish’s most faithful domestique, shepherding him through stage after stage of the Tour de France, and the Manxman is forever singing his praises.

Whether or not Sky take Mark Renshaw – Cavendish’s Australian lead-out man – is less clear. Although he is an integral part of Cavendish’s lead-out train, Sky’s management may not want the pair riding together in the build-up to the Olympics. 

Related links

Mark Cavendish decides destination for 2012
Which way now for Cavendish

  • JDunn

    Stapleton ruled out Cav as a factor??

    I quote: “it was a chicken and egg situation.” That sounds very like he is saying it was an issue not that it wasn’t.

  • robcrow

    Not wanting to sign up Renshaw becouse of the Olypmics is a rediculus notion.He is a great leadout man.To not try and get him on your team just cuz of one event on one day would show a lack of ambition by your team.If sky do sign Cav ,Renshaw would make it easier to win races.Allso what if Renshaw was signed by another team with a good sprinter.If sky want to show they are truly interested in creating a world class pro cycling team and not just an olympic developement team they will have to try and get the strongest riders available.Even if cav doesnt go to sky,sky should still try to sign Renshaw to lead out Edvald Boasson Hagen.Any high quality rider should be targeted if he adds something to your squad you are lacking.Can you imagine a premier football team not signing a player as he plays for a different international team.Its so small minded but would be funny if true.

  • Jon

    RIP HTC-Highroad (-Columbia-T-Mobile-Telekom-Stuttgart-Merckx-etc.) – very sorry to see them go. They’ve been a big highlight of the last 3 tours. Must watch chasing legends again and raise a glass to them.

  • Robert Wright

    Bittersweet news. Very sad that one of the most successful teams is disappearing and we shall be denied the sight of the HTC train in full flight. IF, and it’s still an “if”, Cav goes to Sky will it create internal tensions when it comes to deciding on team leader? Can we look forward to Sky being the team of all the talents?

  • M Lee

    It’s amazing they can’t get a sponsor but assume Cav wasn’t on the teamsheet. Can’t say i think the SKY signing is any good for anyone – stilts the development of a UK GC rider and Cav won’t have a whole team riding for him, will Time Trial Specialists like Martin be pulling for Cav in Team SKY colours at the Tour ??? Plus Eisel (and hopefully Renshaw) along with Cav will take at least 2/3 team places; not great for the development of the likes of Swift etc – who would you drop? Riders gaining most from this are Martin & Goss and the teams that sign them. Oh, and plus Thomas has said he might skip next years Tour to concentrate on the Olympics – so thats the train down one already – SKY have said the Olympics are the priority but Cav has said as a pro cyclist the Tour is the most important, doesn’t sound like an ideal fit.

  • toe

    friend of a friend playing chinese wispers says cav and katusha. Bedfellows

  • Hadyn Bosher @ 78 in Thailand

    UNBELIEVABLE!! If Stapleton can’t get a replacement????.though H.T.C are going to have financial problems,and that could be the reason.dificult to understand!! sad news.


    QUOTE….”Team HTC – Highroad. The most winning team in pro cycling, and ranked the number one team in the world by Eurosport. An international team of 36 men and women from 18 nations, we have won more races in 2008, 2009 and 2010 than any other team. Talented young stars and experienced leaders, working together to achieve success on the world stage. Our commitment to teamwork and to the best tools and technology has made us the world leader in victories. “…….and yet HTC don’t want to continue sponsorship?????? what on god’s earth do these amazing atheletes have to do????? HTC SHAME ON YOU!!!

  • Mick W

    Incredibly sad that one of the most successful teams cannot find a sponsor . I wish all the team personnel the very best for the future ,wherever that may lie.