Cycling Australia has confirmed it will not provide support for the Orica-Scott women’s team and Mitchelton-Scott development team beyond the 2017 season. The news comes as the teams’ management company, GreenEdge Cycling, confirmed that owner Gerry Ryan would provide increased funding to help cover the shortfall.
“Our women’s team are one of our shining lights this year,” Ryan said. “They are delivering top results in the biggest races, Annemiek van Vleuten currently ranks number one in the world and riders like Sarah Roy have really stepped up this season.
“The same can be said for our young Continental team. In the first year of operation, they are really stepping up to the plate and showing us their potential for not only now, but in the future.
“The decision of others is out of our hands but we believe [the riders] deserve our support, and a lot more.”
CyclingTips understands that Cycling Australia’s contribution to the two teams was worth in excess of $1 million a year and included both financial and in-kind support. In confirming the end of the partnership, Cycling Australia CEO Nick Green was full of praise for Gerry Ryan and GreenEdge Cycling.
“Cycling Australia has enjoyed a long association with the GreenEdge team, in particular the Orica-Scott Women’s team and more recently the Mitchelton-Scott U23 Men’s team, through the provision of coaching and leadership expertise,” Green told CyclingTips. “Gerry’s ongoing support for Australian cycling and his passion and vision for the GreenEdge professional cycling team is legendary and recognised around the world.
“From next year, Cycling Australia will focus on individual athletes, domestic development of road cycling and our role in the Australian Cycling Team at World Championships and Olympic Games.
“This is an amicable ending to a long and successful partnership and we look forward to working with GreenEdge in the future.”
Today’s news comes less than a week after it emerged Cycling Australia’s support for two women’s road development teams will conclude at the end of this season. The national body was also under fire last week for the decision not to fill its allocated spots for the women’s squad for the upcoming Road World Championships.
Cycling Australia is expected to deliver its new High Performance Plan in the coming weeks.
GreenEdge Cycling, meanwhile, is searching for a title sponsor to replace Orica. The Australian minerals giant has sponsored the setup since 2012 but its contract concludes at the end of 2017.
“We are still on the hunt for a replacement naming rights sponsor across all three teams, and without that, the guarantee Gerry has made to these women and young men is a direct commitment from him personally,” said general manager Shayne Bannan. “For riders, [Ryan’s contribution] has provided security for another season, and for us as an organisation, it has allowed us to plan ahead whilst we continue to search for a new corporate sponsor.”