The future of British women’s squad Drops is in doubt after their new title sponsor pulled out at the last moment. The team, which raced as Trek-Drops through the 2018 season, is now hoping crowdfunding will keep them afloat next year.
In a press release on Tuesday morning, the team announced their new sponsor had withdrawn last week.
“The title sponsor in a cycling team invests the largest proportion of budget and the company pulling out leaves us with a large deficit in our budget for 2019,” said the press release.
“This leaves the future of 12 riders and a number of staff, uncertain.”
The future of the team had been in doubt since July, when title sponsor Trek announced their intention to withdraw and establish their own women’s team, Trek-Segafredo.
However, ever since the noises coming from team manager, Bob Varney have been positive and it was thought the team would continue.
“The aim of our crowdfunding campaign is to raise the awareness of our fight, a fight to save a team that will be the only British professionally registered women’s team in 2019 with the hope that something positive unfolds,” the press release continued.
Should the search for funds prove unsuccessful and the team fold, not only will it be a blow to Drops’ riders and staff, but also for British women’s cycling.
The outfit were set to be the country’s only UCI women’s team in 2019 after Wiggle-High5 folded, WNT-Rotor’s likely re-registration to Germany, and Storey Racing’s plans return to domestic racing for 2019.
Drops were established in 2016 and immediately made an impact, not only with their striking kit but also their positive approach to racing.
Each year since has seen them step up. American Tayler Wiles was added to the 2018 roster, giving the team their highest Women’s WorldTour result, finishing second overall at the Amgen Tour of California, as well as second in a stage of July’s Giro Rosa.
It had already been announced that Wiles and Brit, Abi van Twisk would be moving to Trek-Segafredo for next year.
Launched on Tuesday morning, the team’s crowdfunding page invites contributions from £50 through to £250,000, and is set to end in just 15 days.