Swiss WorldTour squad will close when the 2016 season is completed due to failure to find a co-sponsor
The team’s owner Michel Thétaz issued a brief statement on Monday morning announcing that the squad would end and apologised for his ‘failure’ in not being able to continue the team’s ‘beautiful adventure’.
The squad started racing in 2013 as a Professional Continental-level team, and moved up to the WorldTour for the 2015 season having racing in the 2014 Tour de France on a wildcard entry. The team had previously said that it was seeking a co-sponsor in order to continue in the WorldTour.
“IAM Cycling will cease operations at the end of the 2016 season,” said Thétaz. “This is a failure for which I take full responsibility.”
“In these four years of intense activity, which have been marked by unforgettable memories, IAM has enhanced its credibility and received enviable visibility.”
“We have arrived at a key moment in the team’s evolution with the prospect of entering a new three-year cycle; however, that proved to be an impossible undertaking for IAM Cycling since we have failed to find a co-sponsor.”
Having reached the top-flight WorldTour, Thétaz is reluctant to move the team back down to Professional Continental level, saying: “It was unthinkable to consider returning to the lower levels or even play a subordinate role to the greatest teams with budgets of [€]12 million.”
“Of course, I regret this situation, but I prefer to rejoice in what we have accomplished over the past four years.”
The statement says that the riders and team staff were notified of the team’s imminent closure on Monday morning prior to the release of the statement.
IAM – Independent Asset Management – deals with a range of investments and asset management based in Geneva. Thétaz is the company’s CEO.
Watch: Men’s WorldTour contenders 2016
IAM Cycling are currently ranked 14th out of 18 teams in the UCI’s WorldTour ranking. The team is currently taking part in the Giro d’Italia, where Marcel Wyss is their highest-placed rider overall in 50th place. Former UCI Hour Record holder Matthias Brandle was second in the stage nine individual time trial.
The team has taken five victories so far in the season, none at WorldTour level.
The squad is currently home to 28 riders, including Leigh Howard, Jerome Coppel, Heinrich Haussler, Matthias Brandle and Jarlinson Pantano.
The end of IAM means that their WorldTour place will be available to another team for the 2017 season.