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French clothing company Paule Ka is stepping in to save the Bigla-Katusha team, which has been facing an uncertain future since it emerged in April that neither of the team’s title sponsors was upholding its financial commitments.
Bigla has been a title sponsor of the team since its first pro season, while Katusha came aboard with high hopes for 2020, but the former told the team earlier this year that it sought to pull all of its funding, while the latter has struggled to pay what it owes in sponsorship money. The team will ride on, however, thanks to the arrival of Paule Ka. According to a press release, the brand will take over as the “main sponsor” of the team starting on July 1.
The newly unveiled sponsorship of the long-running squad will run all the way through 2024, which would qualify as a lengthy agreement even during ordinary times, let alone during a pandemic and amid widespread financial woes.
The Bigla-Katusha team currently races as a UCI Women’s Continental Team (albeit as one of the most successful squads under that designation), but according to a press release, the new-look team will seek WorldTour status in 2021.
“We are very excited to welcome Paule Ka as the new main partner of our team. This will be the first time that a fashion house will enter into women’s cycling, and as such, this is a ground-breaking event,” said team CEO Priska Doppmann Campana.
“It will provide our sport with a platform to showcase the beauty of cycling in a unique and modern way. With this partnership, the team will also be opening a new chapter. We are seeking a WorldTour license, and will be developing a masterclass project, in which we will be able to keep furthering the potential of the athletes that have gone through our development program.”