Former riders of the now defunct AT85 Pro Cycling team have said the UK racing scene will be far worse off without the long-standing squad.
After experiencing “funding issues” along with “an increasingly uncertain banking and finance sector”, the team were forced to fold, leaving multiple riders and staff members without jobs.
Saint Piran rider Alex Richardson, who rode for AT85 under its former guise as Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes, told Cycling Weekly that Tim Elverson’s team provided “a platform for people, who may have otherwise not had it”.
“It’s not good for domestic cycling and feeding good riders through, there has been a lot of success that’s come out of that team,” Richardson said. “There’s a lot of success and enjoyment that’s come through. They gave young riders, or even some of the older ones, the experience to develop.”
“They provided a platform to people who may have otherwise not had it. You’re providing opportunity for people fundamentally, which is a really nice thing to do.”
Riding for Elverson’s team enabled Richardson to progress to the ProTeam level with Alpecin-Fenix, something he explained he was very grateful for and that Elverson’s outfit were a “level above” others in the UK at that time.
“I have a lot of admiration for Tim. He’s massively helped me find success and consequently a huge amount of self-satisfaction and learning in the sport,” Richardson added. “So much of that is thanks to him.”
Matt Bostock, who became male British national circuit champion while riding for WiV SunGod last year, said that Elverson’s squad had proved pivotal in his move up to the ProTeam ranks with Bolton Equities Black Spoke for 2023.
“This is just terrible for the boys now that it’s mid-season. I’m gutted for the riders and staff,” Bostock said. “I was lacking confidence when I came to Tim, and he was really important in the way that he helped me start to tackle racing and have more confidence.”
“I had a successful year last year with winning that national title. It was obviously special for me, but it was also special for Tim and the team,” he added. “It’s genuinely quite sad. I could have easily found myself in that situation, so I’m grateful for everything I got out of it all.”
Saint Piran, one of the two remaining British UCI Continental squads, confirmed to CW that they had held conversations with AT85 DS Colin Sturgess with a view to helping find places for some AT85 riders.
In a statement from the Cornwall-based team released this afternoon, team owner Richard Pascoe said that “sponsorship and cash-rich partnerships” in the UK circuit are “dwindling”.
“AT85 Pro Cycling and its previous incarnations have set the level for others to follow in professional cycling so this news is a sad day in the UK’s cycling scene,” Pascoe said. “Colin and Tim have helped transform the cycling scene in the UK and I hope they will continue to do so. Professional cycling is a small family. A change like this is terrible for the team, its riders and staff - we very much feel for their situation.”
“Going forward, it’s crucial to build professional cycling on a firm foundation of sustainable finance and support.”
Former elite UK racer turned podcast host Tommy Bustard called the loss of AT85 “the darkest day in British cycling”.
Bustard, a close friend of AT85 rider Rob Scott, told Cycling Weekly: “Rob Scott won seven races last year. He had 15 podiums and should have gone ProConti if not WorldTour.”
He added: “It’s almost the end. There are two teams left.”
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