The Gazprom-RusVelo team has lost two of its leading equipment suppliers following the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. The French manufacturers Look Cycle and sister company Corima Wheels announced, “we have decided to stop our technical support and partnership with the Gazprom-Rusvelo team” in identical statements on their Twitter feeds.
The two brands made the announcements in response to what it described as the “shocking and unforgivable news”, and ends their bike and wheel sponsorship of the Russian backed, Swiss-registered team with immediate effect. Look previously stated it had “no plans to withdraw support of the team” as recently as Saturday, pointing to the team’s Italian base and multinational rider list. Nine of the 21 riders are Russian, with Italian the next largest representation on the team with seven riders. Although based in Italy, and registered in Switzerland, the team’s main sponsor is a Russian, majority state-owned, energy corporation and has an entirely Russian management panel.
Italian helmet manufacturer Limar also pointed to the team’s multinational rider list in its Twitter response to questions on its partnership with the Russian backed team. In a two-part reply, Limar first stated “We would never want sport to be affected by politics, but we cannot refrain from expressing our deep sorrow for what is happening to the Ukrainian people. Our thoughts are with them and all those fighting any criminal behaviour” before later providing the response below.
While the team will likely retain possession of the Look bikes and Corima wheels, its future is far from clear. The team is scheduled to race several World Tour events in the coming weeks. However, the IOC has released a statement recommending Russian and Belarusian athletes and teams be banned from international competitions. At the time of publishing, we await a response from the UCI. In the meantime, AusCycling has announced Russian and Belarussian teams will not be permitted to participate in the Road World Championships later this year.