Hope threatened to quit British Cycling bike deal over Lotus announcement

BC's engineering partnership announcement for its Paris bike made no mention of the Lancashire firm

Hope/Lotus bike
Ed Clancy with the previous iteration, the Lotus x Hope BT.T
(Image credit: Lotus)

Engineering firm Hope threatened to walk away from a deal with British Cycling to develop the Paris Olympic bike, after a BC announcement of the plans contained no mentioned of the Lancashire firm.

Earlier this week British Cycling announced it would continue its partnership with car company Lotus Engineering and specialist engineering firm Renishaw on the next generation of its radical Olympic gold medal winning track bike. But didn't mention Hope, the name of which appears on the bike's downtube, at all.

It sent waves of consternation through the Hope ranks, said its head of sales and marketing Alan Wetherill, and upset designers. "We were shocked as you were at that press release," he said.

The announcement said BC was pleased to extend its partnership with Lotus and Renishaw, "to deliver the bike that will be used by the Great Britain Cycling Team track squad at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games".

Hope, which has spent the past two years working with BC on the successor to the Lotus x Hope BT.T, which was ridden to seven medals in the velodrome, took the matter straight to the governing body: "We actually told them that we understood from that press release that we were no longer required – and would you like to buy the moulds back off us? They came back to us and said oh no, we didn't mean that!'"

Cycling Weekly also contacted British Cycling for comment. A spokesperson said: "This release is specifically around our commercial partnerships with Lotus and Renishaw, and announcing that these will be extending beyond Paris. Hope remains a valued supplier of British Cycling."

The air had been more or less cleared, Wetherill explained, and Hope and British Cycling remain "a thing". "We're sorting it out. The relationship's still happening," he said.

"It's very personal to everyone here," he added. "In a big corporation it's just a job, whereas here, the pride in having a whole bike winning in the Olympics… it cost us a fortune our end to make the bike, the sponsorship involved, but that wasn't really the thing, it's more the pride of doing it. So to suddenly have a different spin put on it, it upset people's personal pride."

The latest kerfuffle follows a bruising year for British Cycling which has endured a string of controversies including publishing then axing its trans-gender inclusion policy; its polarising sponsorship deal with Shell and being forced to backtrack on guidance not to ride on the day of the Queen's funeral.

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