Gazprom-RusVelo lose wheel and bike sponsors after Russian invasion of Ukraine

Look and Corima say they will stop "technical support and partnership" after "shocking and unforgivable news"

Dmitrii Strakhov, Michael Kukrle, and Pavel Kochetkov ride for Gazprom-RusVelo at the UAE Tour
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gazprom-RusVelo have lost their bike and wheel sponsors following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Look and Corima posted statements on social media on Tuesday saying they will stop "technical support and partnership" for the Swiss-registered team, which is sponsored by Gazprom, the Russian majority state-owned energy company, after the "shocking and unforgivable news".

The identical message from the two brands reads: "We, Look Cycle, think of sport as a means to unite nations and have always supported and will continue to support athletes of all nationalities. 

"We join the multitudes of athletes on their call for peace. That being said, in light of the recent shocking and unforgivable news, we have decided to stop our technical support and partnership with the Gazprom-RusVelo Cycling Team."

The team is Russian, but based in Italy, and rides on the UCI's ProTour. They have been around since 2012. They were originally just RusVelo, before Gazprom came on board in 2016.

It won a stage of the UAE Tour last week through Czech rider Mathias Vacek, and its Russian rider Dmitrii Strakhov won the intermediate sprint jersey at the same race.

>>> Who are the Gazprom-RusVelo cycling team and how are they linked to the Russian government?

Look has changed its mind since Saturday, when it tweeted that it had "no plans" to withdraw from the partnership.

It said: "Team Gazprom is an Italian-based, international team with riders and sponsors from diverse nations. Whilst we work to better understand the implications current events have on its other commercial partnerships, LOOK currently has no plans to withdraw its support of the team."

The team's helmet sponsor, Limar, also responded on Twitter on Monday: "As a cycling company, our helmets are simply meant to save lives without any judgement on those who are wearing them. The Team athletes are wearing Limar helmets with this spirit of protection and safeguard of lives and most of the riders are from several different countries."

Gazprom-RusVelo are currently on the startlist for the Trofeo Laigueglia tomorrow and Tirreno-Adriatico next week, and it is not known how the withdrawal of sponsorship will affect the team.

On Monday, the International Olympic Committe (IOC) called on international sporting federations and organisers to prevent Russian and Belarusian athletes from taking part in their events. Cycling's governing body, the UCI, is yet to respond.

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