Slipstream Sports, owner of the Cannondale-Drapac professional cycling team, has announced that the squad has signed up a new title sponsor for 2018: EF Education First.
The American WorldTour outfit will be known as ‘Team EF Education First-Drapac presented by Cannondale’ from the start of the 2018 season.
The deal will ensure the future of the team after the late withdrawal of an expected sponsor looked like the squad would be without necessary funding for 2018.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters said that the terms of the deal are ‘fluid’ but that it was for the ‘next several years’.
“Because this deal extends beyond traditional sponsorship, the terms of the deal are fluid,” said Vaughters. “For now, I can say that we’ve agreed to terms for the next several years and that both Slipstream Sports and EF see this as a long-term partnership.”
The team had released riders from contractual obligations in August after the sponsorship shortfall had been revealed, but now the team says that all riders’ contracts will be honoured.
Vaughters thanked fans for their support, including the money raised via a crowd-funding campaign to save the team.
“I’m incredibly happy and also exhausted,” Vaughters said. “These last two weeks, I’ve put in more hours working than I ever have and fewer hours sleeping – that’s telephone calls, meetings, flying here and there. I’ve been holed up in a hotel all week in New York. I’m exhausted but I’m also so happy and so proud.
“I’m proud of how the organisation held it together through all this – the riders, staff, sponsors, fans. Every single minute I’ve worked on this was so worthwhile.”
Vaughters would not confirm which riders would continue with the team into 2018, but did confirm that 2017 Tour de France runner-up Rigoberto Uran would be part of it with his three-year deal continuing.
“His goal [is] to win the Tour while in argyle,” said Vaughters.
The deal with EF Education First will eventually see the company become a majority owner of Slipstream Sports.