Ridley and Merckx bikes considering ending team sponsorships, according to reports

The Belgian bike builder behind the brands is reviewing its contracts with pro teams

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The company behind Ridley and Merckx bikes is considering ending its team sponsorships, according to reports.

Belgian Cycling Factory, which supports pro teams Lotto-Soudal, Sport-Vlaanderen Baloisse and Bingoal Wallonie-Bruxelles, plans to review contracts that come to an end later this year, due to the uncertainty caused by coronavirus.

According to a report from Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad (opens in new tab), the bike builder wants to renegotiate its sponsorship deals and would even consider bringing them to an end because of the shakeup coronavirus has cuased in the cycling industry.

Ridley bikes have had a long-standing relationship with WorldTour team Lotto-Soudal, with Phillippe Gilbert and Caleb Ewan currently riding the machines, while UCI ProTeam Bingoal Wallonie-Bruxelles also ride Ridley bikes.

Also in the ProTeam ranks, Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise ride Merckx bikes, while in 2019 French WorldTour squad Ag2r La Mondiale started riding Merckx for two seasons, with an option to extend for another two years.

In 2018, Belgian Cycling Factory announced that Ridley and Merckx bikes would be made available direct to dealers in order to reinvigorate the brands.

The previous year, the Belgian Cycling Factory had been created when Ridley owner Jochim Aerts brought the struggling Merckx brand.

Another prestigious cycling brand, Colnago, underwent a major change earlier this year as owner Ernesto Colnago sold his majority share to an Abu Dhabi investment fund.

Chimera Investments LLC has acquired a majority of the shares in the 1954 founded mainstay of Italian bike design. The 88-year-old founder has said that the move will allow the brand to grow “and increase its presence in all markets, whilst maintaining and improving the quality of Colnago products.”

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The brand currently sponsors the UCI World Tour Team, UAE Team Emirates, which plays hosts to eight Italian riders including Fabio Aru.

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.