Orica’s run as title sponsor of Australia’s WorldTour team ends today after five years, with new title sponsors Mitchelton and Scott announced for the 2018 season.
The mining explosives and blasting corporation has funded the Australian team since mid-way through its 2012 debut year. Under the Orica moniker, the team won Paris-Roubaix, scored Grand Tour stages and wore the Tour de France‘s yellow jersey.
The Yates twins, Adam and Simon, and Colombian Esteban Chaves are leading the next generation in the team, known as Mitchelton-Scott.
“Orica signed up to support our team very early in the piece, putting their trust in this organisation and its people, and providing us with the platform and security to grow,” team owner Gerry Ryan said.
“We are tremendously proud of how far we have come thanks to their support. We have won monuments, stage races, Grand Tour stages and after two Grand Tour podiums, a victory in a three-week tour is next on our list.
“Orica will forever have a place in this team’s DNA and we are extremely thankful for their support over the years.”
The women’s Orica-Scott team also changes to Mitchelton-Scott for 2018.
Orica’s revenues are down, but it recorded $5.1 billion Australian dollars revenue in 2016. Last June, the team announced that Orica was finishing its sponsorship at the end of 2017.
Mitchelton steps in to replace the billion-dollar backer. The boutique hotel and winery is owned by Gerry Ryan’s son, Andrew.
The Ryans will have to invest heavily to compete at the top end of the WorldTour. Sky’s budget for 2016 was £31 million. In 2016, Orica’s was estimated at €13 million (£11.5m). Without Orica, funding comes directly from within and from bike manufacturer Scott.
The sponsorship change will promote Mitchelton, which is relatively unknown outside of Australia. Ryan is pushing its international development, opening the Mitchelton Hotel and Day Spa in late 2017 to complement the existing Winery & Chocolate Factory in regional Victoria, Australia.
“The past number of years Mitchelton has focused on domestic business, but we are now ready to target export markets and cycling is a great vehicle to promote our brand to the various global markets,” Andrew Ryan said.
“With the new Mitchelton Hotel and Day Spa, we have seen an increase in international tourism to the estate and this association with the team will enable us to broadly promote our estate to the world.”
The team will make a big push at home to start 2018. Esteban Chaves announced he will start the year at the Tour Down Under and Herald Sun Tour. Team Sky will skip the Herald Sun Tour having won the past two editions.