Delko racing the team time trial at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali.

French ProTeam Delko folds

Delko, which has raced in the second-division ranks since 2016, has closed its doors amid financial issues.

by Dane Cash

photography by Getty Images

The Delko team has folded amid financial issues, DirectVelo reports.

The French Pro Team, which first raced as a UCI-registered squad as La Pomme Marseille in 2011, was variously known as La Pomme Marseille 13, La Pomme Marseille KTM, Delko Marseille Provence KTM, Delko Marseille Provence, and Nippo Delko One Provence over its history before becoming simply “Delko” this year. It moved up to the Pro Continental ranks in 2016, and stayed at that level in the ensuing years. Peloton notables who have raced for the squad at some point in their careers either full-time or as stagiaires include the likes of Toms Skujins, Ángel Madrazo, Leonardo Duque, Ramunas Navardauskas, and Christophe Laporte.

The team was known to have been facing financial troubles last season, with Nippo and Provence both departing as sponsors at the end of the year. According to Cyclingnews, the UCI initiated proceedings to release the team’s bank guarantee after riders said they had not been paid their full salaries. Moreover, at least two riders reportedly said that team manager Philippe Lannes had implied that they would not race for the team the following season despite having contracts, although Lannes denied those claims.

Despite its financial problems, the team continued to race into this season, but Sunday’s Paris-Tours, where Julien Trarieux rode to ninth place, was apparently the squad’s final race.

“Money is the crux of the matter, and economically, the team was at its worst. Under these conditions, it was already good to be able to go to Paris-Tours,” sport director Benjamin Giraud told DirectoVelo. “We finished in a great race and we performed there. I find that beautiful. It is better to finish in a nice way, rather than doing everything halfway and hard just to say to leave at the end of the season.”

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