Riders such as Heinrich Haussler, Leigh Howard and Larry Warbasse will be searching for a new team for 2017 after IAM Cycling announced that it would not continue in the peloton beyond the end of the current season.
Questions have existed about the WorldTour team’s future in recent weeks, with some rumours talking about a possible merger with the BMC Racing Team. An announcement due to be made today has clarified the situation: the squad won’t merge with any other, but will rather throw in the towel in terms of staying in cycling.
“IAM Cycling will cease operations at the end of the 2016 season,” stated IAM Cycling founder Thétaz on Tuesday.
“This is a failure for which I take full responsibility. In these four years of intense activity, which have been marked by unforgettable memories, IAM has enhanced its credibility and received enviable visibility. We have arrived at a key moment in the team’s evolution with the prospect of entering a new three year cycle; however that proved to be an impossible undertaking for IAM Cycling since we have failed to find a co-sponsor, and consequently will be unable to continue our progress to the summit of the sport’s hierarchy.”
The team has been part of the WorldTour for the past two seasons but has not succeeded in landing many wins. Moving up to the top rank of the sport would ideally have led to a similar progression with results but this hasn’t happened.
This year it notched up just five victories thus far. Dries Devenyns took the GP Cycliste la Marseillaise, then Jerome Coppel won a stage plus the overall in the Etoile de Bessèges. Howard took the Clasica de Almeria.
However after that good start there has been just one more win in recent months, namely Sondre Holst Enger’s victory on stage six of the Tour of Croatia.
The riders, managers, sports directors and other employees were told on Monday morning that the four year project was drawing to a close.
According to Thétaz, running a smaller operation is not an option.
“It was unthinkable to consider returning to the lower levels, or even to play a subordinate role to the greatest teams with budgets of 12 million,” he said. “Of course, I regret this situation, but I prefer to rejoice in what we have accomplished over the past four years.”
He did not comment on the BMC Racing Team rumours and whether that merger had been considered or not.