Équipe Paule Ka has been forced to folded with immediate effect after their headline sponsor failed to pay the team for three months.
The Swiss-registered UCI women’s squad, formerly Bigla-Katusha, will be forced to miss the last two races of the season as the team said they cannot sustain themselves any longer.
Bigla-Katusha faced a crisis earlier this year when their sponsors were unable to meet their financial commitments due to the global coronavirus pandemic, before French fashion house Paule Ka stepped in with a four-year contract, saving the team at the last moment.
But problems with the new sponsor started almost immediately, when Paule Ka was late to make its first payment in July, then failing to pay the team in August, September and October, despite multiple assurances the money was on it’s way, the team said.
A statement from team management said: “ This is an extremely sad moment in the 15-year history of this squad, which prides itself on the development of exciting young talent within the peloton. The team's riders and staff were looking forward to spending several more years together in the pursuit of sportive success.
“However, this can regrettably no longer be our shared goal, with the team being forced to dissolve after a decade and a half in the peloton. Now, our main aim is to find both riders and staff new teams to secure their futures.”
The team, which is home to British talent Lizzy Banks, have consistently punched above their weight, taking wins in the Giro Rosa (thanks to Banks) and landing on the podium of the World Championships, European Championships, and boasting multiple national titles amongst their roster.
But after 15 years in the peloton, the team has now closed and will miss the Tour of Flanders and Three Days of Brugge-De Panne.
The team said: “We would like to extend sincere thanks to cycling fans all over the world, followers of the team, and our competitors within the peloton, who have reached out to us during this challenging time to let us know that our presence in the peloton is one that would be sorely missed.”
Banks is now forced to find a new contract late in the season, as she was contracted with Équipe Paule Ka until 2021.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
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.
Is it a shame you'll never see this radical new Cadex Tri bike in the Tour de France?
You name the UCI equipment regulation and this bike breaks it... but is the WorldTour missing out on such a spectacular machine?
By Tom Epton • Published
Cycling and coffee: does caffeine really boost riding performance?
How does caffeine work? Why isn’t caffeine a banned substance? Can you consume too much coffee? We take you through everything a cyclist needs to know about coffee (except for tips on how to brew it!)
By TJ Waterfall • Published