Bigla-Katusha uncertain of future after 100 per cent of funding withdrawn

The Danish squad includes British riders Lizzy Banks and Sophie Wright

Bigla-Katusha (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bigla-Katusha's future has been put in doubt after 100 per cent of their funding was withdrawn.

The women's team received a letter from title sponsor Bigla saying they wished to withdraw all of their funding, while Katusha had already declined to pay the team last month.

Katusha joined Bigla as co-headline sponsor of the squad in October 2019 after their men's WorldTour licence Katusha-Alpecin was taken over by Israel Start-Up Nation.

The Danish squad, which is home to Brits Lizzy Banks and Sophie Wright, has sat in the top 10 of the UCI world rankings since 2015, with Banks taking her first professional victory at the 2019 Giro Rosa on stage eight.

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Reasons behind the withdrawal of funds are yet to be revealed, although the coronavirus pandemic has put a number of cycling teams into financial jeopardy, with Bahrain-McLaren, Lotto-Soudal and CCC among the teams taking measures such as cutting rider salaries or temporarily laying off support staff.

"To see such a well-recognised and successful team, with 200 podiums to its name since 2015, in this difficult situation is very disappointing, not only for the squad but also for its partners, supporters and cycling fans in general," the team said in a statement.

"The team and its partners were 100 per cent committed to continuing its great success when racing recommences this year, with riders having spent much time and energy maintaining their fitness and race-readiness."

The team hasn't given up hope yet, however, and say they wish to hold further conversations with both sponsors to see if there is a way to save the team.

"The team hopes that both title partners will be willing to undertake further discussions with the team to negotiate the best way forward and ensure the squad’s survival," their statement finished.

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.