British women’s squad Drops have announced their plans to join cycling’s highest level, but they need a new sponsor to make it happen.
Just days after winning the opening stage of the first ever virtual Tour de France, the UCI team has put out a call to find a new corporate backer to help them secure the €1 million minimum needed.
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To join the Women’s WorldTour, which was only introduced as a team categorisation this year, a team must meet number of financial and organisation criteria, including minimum salaries, maternity rights and medical support.
Team director Bob Varney said: “We have gained a reputation for being the plucky underdog, consistently overachieving, and are widely acknowledged as one of the sports most successful development programmes, with many of our riders progressing to the top teams in the world.
“The next step is for Drops to become one of the top teams in the world. That step is to become a UCI Women’s WorldTour team.
“To achieve this we are going to need the support of an ambitious like-minded corporate partner.”
Since they were set up in 2016, the team have race for 240 days in 20 countries, with riders from 13 different nations.
Former drops riders include Tayler Wiles who now races for Trek-Segafredo, Eva Burman (now Boels-Dolmans) and British track star Elinor Barker.
The team also celebrated their own success in the last week, when April Tacey won stage one of the virtual Tour de France, beating the likes of Chloe Dygert and Chantal van den Broek Blaak.
Varney added: “After our unprecedented success at the inaugural Tour de France Virtual, now is the time to reach out and ask for help.
“Please help us share our story in the hope that we can find our perfect partner to continue our remarkable journey.”
Varney said the minimum funding needed for a Women’s WorldTour licence is €1 million (£900,000) and in return the team can offer international visibility and a guaranteed televised global race programme.
Any potential sponsors should get in contact with Drops by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance.
Varney said the team management are “embarrassed” they have not been able to offer the same support to riders as a WorldTour team, but that they embrace rights like minimum salaries, maternity rights, medical support and full time staff.
He added: “Women’s cycling is on the cusp of something very special and offers investors exceptionally good value for money.”