The Australian mining services company joined four years ago in May 2012. It sponsors both the men’s team, with British twins Simon and Adam Yates, and the women’s Orica-AIS team. Overnight, it said it would extend through 2017, but that it would be its final year.
“Exiting the partnership after 2017 was not a decision made easily,” said Orica Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Samantha Stevens.
“However, given the more challenging environment facing the resources and mining services sectors, it is the appropriate decision for Orica at this time. We wish the teams all the best for the future.”
Orica-GreenEdge won Paris-Roubaix this spring with Mathew Hayman and just finished a successful Giro d’Italia with Esteban Chaves placing second overall. It is building for the Tour de France now with stars Simon Gerrans, Michael Matthews and the Yates twins.
Orica’s sponsorship renewal for one more year gives the team’s brass time to find a replacement sponsor for Australia’s first and only WorldTour team. The team began as GreenEdge in 2012 with a large sum of its money coming from owner Gerry Ryan, who became one of Australia’s richest men with the global travelling show, Walking with Dinosaurs.
The average WorldTeam budget is around £11 million with some teams, like Sky, enjoying £24 million. Orica-GreenEdge’s budget is around the average, or £11 million. Ryan puts in some of his money, but will need to help the team find a backer to make up the rest to continue into 2018 and to keep stars like the Yates, whose contracts end this season.
Ryan said: “They have been a great partner for us and we will of course continue our efforts to build this team even stronger going onwards.”
Watch: Secrets of the toolbox – Orica-GreenEdge
Chaves’s contract, unlike the Yates’s, continues beyond 2016. The team made a push towards racing for Grand Tours in recent years and successfully kept Adam and Simon when Sky was knocking on their doors. In the Giro, it was the first time that the team raced to win the general classification.
The team has punched above its weight with big one-day monument wins in Milan-San Remo, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and this year, Paris-Roubaix. In the 2013 Tour de France, the team won the time trial in Nice, and Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey wore the yellow jersey.