Bigla-Katusha squad has been saved as new sponsor steps in with four-year deal
The women’s UCI team was under threat after all their funding was withdrawn, but will now be seeking WorldTour status
Bigla-Katusha have been saved as a new sponsor has stepped in to fund the women’s UCI team.
Danish squad Bigla found themselves on the brink of closure after 100 per cent of their funding was withdrawn, forcing management to take drastic measures in the hopes of staying afloat.
The team launched a fundraising campaign in April to raise 170,00 Swiss Francs (£142,000).
While the fundraising campaign fell well short if the target, French fashion house Paule Ka has stepped in to fund the team through to 2024.
The team has revealed it will also be seeking a WorldTour license in the hopes of stepping up to the top tier in women’s racing.
Team CEO Priska Doppmann Campana said: “his will be the first time that a fashion house will enter into women’s cycling, and as such, this is a ground-breaking event. It will provide our sport with a platform to showcase the beauty of cycling in a unique and modern way. With this partnership, the team will also be opening a new chapter.
“Overall, this is a good day not just for our team, but also for women’s cycling in general, and we are pleased that this venture will open up several new opportunities for our sport.”
Earlier this year Bigla-Katusha home to British riders Lizzy Banks and Sophie Wright, announced that headline sponsor Bigla had pulled its money out, while cycling clothing company Katusha had also declined to pay the team.
In an attempt to save the team, management approached the UCI for access to emergency funds to pay staff and riders forApril, while also launching a fundraising campaign in the hopes of securing enough money to continue race.
But the new sponsor will be welcome news, as the sport has been hit hard by the global coronavirus crisis.
Matthias Thoma, owner of Paule Ka said: “We are happy to support the team and its talented women in their pursuit of athletic achievements. Paule Ka, as a timeless yet modern brand, matches the Équipe’s continuity and dynamism as a competitor in the peloton.”
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Paule Ka is a French fashion brand established in 1987 founded by Serge Cajfinger, which has a turnover of around €36 million (£32 million).
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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.
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