UCI to closely follow Team Sky sponsorship search

The UCI has told Cyclingnews it will closely follow the evolution of Team Sky after team owners and sponsors Sky and 21st Century Fox announced they would stop backing the team after the 2019 season.

Sky had been expected to fund Team Sky at least until 2021, but changes in ownership of the broadcaster have apparently led to a change of strategy. Sky was bought by Comcast in September for close to $40 billion after a fierce ownership battle with 21st Century Fox.

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas and Giro d’Italia winner Chris Froome both have contracts that last until 2021, while Egan Bernal signed a five-year contract that runs until the end of 2023. Cyclingnews sources say that 10 Team Sky riders earn more than €1 million per season.

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Team Sky have said they hope the team’s future will be secured by the time the Tour de France comes around in July. However, changes in team ownership and major changes in sponsorship and team structure can result in rider contracts being annulled.

Team Sky are managed by the British-registered company Tour Racing Limited, which is 85 per cent owned by Sky, with 21st Century Fox owning the remaining 15 per cent. If they fail to find new owners and new title sponsors, or reach a deal with the riders involved, Tour Racing Limited could be liable for the outstanding rider contracts that go beyond 2019.

Under UCI reforms to the WorldTour, new three-year WorldTour licences will be awarded for 2020-2022, with the application process carried out in the second half of the 2019 season. The UCI will scrutinise all WorldTour applications and is ready to take action via its Licence Commission if needed.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com