Team Colombia-Coldeportes pulls out of the pro peloton at short notice due to lack of funding from country's sports ministry
Five weeks after competing at the Vuelta a España, Team Colombia-Coldeportes has announced it will not be racing in 2016 due to the lack of necessary finances.
The team have been backed by Colombia’s sports ministry ‘Coldeportes’ for the past four seasons, which has seen them participate in some of the world’s biggest races.
Team Colombia has won wildcards to the Vuelta, Giro d’Italia, Milan-San Remo and Liege-Bastogne-Liege in recent years, developing talent that has gone on to the WorldTour, such as Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) and Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling).
“It obviously feels bad to see a cycle we had opened with enthusiasm and high hopes come to an end,” General Manager Claudio Corti said, “particularly after seasons in which the team had managed to earn big consideration from all the people in cycling. I will always regret to see this project close before bringing the Colombian flag back to the Tour de France, particularly as I think this goal was not very far away.“
“Team Colombia-Coldeportes was created to be more than just a cycling project,” Corti continued. “The significance of this team’s path should not be evaluated only on cycling results, but on the impact it had on the image of Colombia in sports and beyond, and the promotion of its identity, culture and tourism.”
“Colombian sport proved capable to compete at the highest level in the World of cycling, and that was the most important goal achieved by the Colombia-Coldeportes project. The way our team was welcomed by the Colombian sports fans all around the World is the biggest statement of what the team managed to do in four years.”
Corti said that the news of the lack of financial backing only reached the team in the past few days, meaning the riders will not have had much time to find new teams for 2016.
With many WorldTour and Pro Continental teams having finalised their lineups for next season, riders may struggle to find employment in a team of a similar level.