Collapse of Ribble Weldtite holes British scene and toughens path for aspiring pros
‘Up and coming riders are going to find it really difficult to make that step up towards professional cycling and a higher level’ says Commonwealth Games medallist
Commonwealth Games medallist Finn Crockett has said that the collapse of his Ribble Weldtite team is a moment of foreboding for the British racing scene and will make it difficult for young riders to progress up the ranks.
Cycling Weekly revealed on Tuesday that due to a significant shortfall in sponsorship, the British based UCI Continental team will collapse at the end of 2022.
“I think as you probably know already, it was down to sponsorship which is a big shame. It was a really sad way for the team to come to an end actually,” Crockett said.
“We were notified before the Tour of Britain that it was looking this way. It obviously left a lot of riders, myself included, kind of questioning next season but there wasn’t a lot we could do.
"If Ribble Weldtite were struggling to stay afloat then it doesn’t show a lot of promise for the British scene,” he added.
In 2019 there were six British UCI Continental teams whereas at the end of 2022, there are now just three left.
Crockett said that with just Saint Piran, WiV SunGod and Trinity Racing flying the flag at UCI Continental level in the UK, it will inevitably make progression difficult for young British riders.
He said: “I think for a lot of younger up and coming riders it’s going to be really difficult now to make that transition towards professional cycling and a higher level. These continental teams do give a lot of opportunities to young British riders and to go from six down to three is such a big change.
“It’s going to leave a lot of younger guys short of a ride, which is a real shame. I think a lot will look elsewhere to the continent now too.”
Earlier this summer, Crockett landed an impressive bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games road race.
The Scottish rider explained to Cycling Weekly that fortunately he has secured a place on a new team for 2023 - though he declined to say which one.
Crockett also admitted that he has felt a sense of a responsibility to some of the other riders affected by Ribble Weldtite’s demise to ensure they aren’t left behind.
Crockett said: “I’m one of the lucky ones and have got a team sorted which is great. I think most of the guys from the team are sorted now, but I’m kind of making sure I keep in touch with the other riders and we’re all making sure nobody gets left behind.
“Cycling is a tough gig sometimes, it’s situations like this which show it can be pretty ruthless and brutal.”
Ribble Weldtite published a statement on their official Twitter page this morning which confirmed that 2022 would be the team's final season.
It said: "And so it is, 2022 will be our final season. After nine years involved with the sport taking the same core team from a small local club, to a professional team competing on the world stage has been a great experience for everyone involved.
"Supporting World Champions, Commonwealth and Olympic medallists, great athletes and some great people is an immense source of pride and has been a great privilege.
"From success, experiences and life lessons in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, China, Hong Kong and beyond, the team has provided a great vehicle for riders and staff to experience the sport across the world. There are too many partners, staff, riders and supporters to thank, but to anyone who has been part of our journey- thank you.
"Rather than leaving the sport embittered and disenfranchised. We leave it proud and on our terms the end of a great journey, full of great memories with lifelong friends."
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Tom is a News and Features Writer at Cycling Weekly, and previously worked in communications at Oxford Brookes University. Alongside his day job, prior to starting with the team, he wrote a variety of different pieces as a contributor to a cycling website, Casquettes and Bidons, which included interviews with up and coming British riders.
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