Sky extends British Cycling backing until 2016
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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Sky extends British Cycling backing until 2016

by VeloNation Press at 5:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Will WorldTour team sponsorship also be lengthened?

Chris HoyDispelling fears that the upheavals at the Murdoch empire might affect Sky’s future links with the sport, British Cycling has confirmed that the company has extended its backing of the federation.

The company has committed to an additional four years, thus lengthening its role as principal partner until the end of 2016.

Sky’s backing is used at a number of levels within the federation, ranging from the backing of elite squads such as those which will chase track gold in the London Olympics to grassroots initiatives which act to get more people to take up the sport.

According to Ian Drake, British Cycling’s Chief Executive, the company’s backing has played a very significant role in recent years. “The unique nature of our partnership with Sky has been a key factor in cycling’s phenomenal success story, perfectly complementing the support we receive from UK Sport and Sport England.

“The growth of our sport over the past four years has been amazing. Not only have our Olympic and Paralympic riders continued to deliver on the world stage, but we’ve also seen the emergence of Team Sky as a force on the road scene.”

He added that group ride initiatives such as Sky Ride also played a major part, and that British Cycling was on track to getting a million additional people cycling by 2013. To date it states that almost 700,000 more people across the UK are riding regularly.

Chris Hoy is one of the elite riders who has achieved top success via the backing, taking three gold medals in the Beijing Olympics and heading towards the London 2012 Games as one of the big favourites.

He welcomed the extended backing by Sky. “Their work with British Cycling has got more people to understand and enjoy the sport we’re all passionate about,” he said. “And the support for elite riders has helped the current team and will go on to support the next generation.”

It remains to be seen if today’s news will also see Sky extend its backing of the professional men’s team. In 2009 it indicated that it would be involved until the end of 2013, but today’s news will boost hopes that the professional team sponsorship will remain in place past that date.

The team has targeted victory in the Tour de France by 2014.

Either way, the extended backing of the sport in general is a major boost for British Cycling. It should enable it to continue recruiting people to the sport at all levels, while also providing the support its elite riders need in preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“We are proud of the partnership we have with British Cycling and look forward to four more years supporting the sport,” said Jeremy Darroch, Sky Chief Executive. “Our aim has always been to increase participation, support the leading riders and inspire the next generation.”

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