Team Sky will have a new sponsorship deal almost complete by the start of Giro d’Italia, according to sports director Matteo Tosatto.
The Italian DS says the new backer will be European and is not the Colombian oil company, as was previously suggested by reports.
British WorldTour outfit Sky is on the hunt for a new sponsor after its parent company Sky plc was bought by American communications giant Comcast.
The Sky sponsorship, which dates back to 2009, will come to an end after the 2019 season.
Tosatto, an ex-Tinkoff pro who retired in 2016, told Spanish newspaper Marca (opens in new tab): “Before the Giro we will have an agreement almost completely safe for the continuity of the team.
“It will be European, from home.”
Tosatto added that there is no possibility of reaching an agreement with the Colombian government, after team principal Sir Dave Brailsford met with officials to discuss a potential sponsorship.
According to reports, the meetings were to discuss the possibility of being sponsored by oil and gas firm Ecopetrol.
But Brailsford later said this was ‘very unlikely.’
Last month, reports emerged suggesting that Team Sky’s new parent company Comcast could continue to part sponsor the team beyond 2019.
The company reportedly offered Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford enough cash to fund 70 per cent of the budget for the 2020 and 2021 season, giving him the opportunity to find the remainder from another sponsor.
Rumours also suggested that a merger with Pro Continental team Israel Cycling Academy could be on the cards, as Israeli-Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams hopes to take his team to the Tour de France by 2020.
Another recent report suggested Russian tycoon Oleg Tinkov had made an offer to Team Sky, after he left cycling behind in 2016.
But Tinkov called the suggestion “bulls**t.”
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