SpiderTech project stops as Bauer admits defeat in hunt for new backing
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

SpiderTech project stops as Bauer admits defeat in hunt for new backing

by VeloNation Press at 7:22 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Canadian squad comes to an end; Armstrong affair and global financial crisis two contributing factors

SpiderTech C10Just over nine months after he said that the team would not race in 2013 but that he hoped it would return in 2014, Steve Bauer has had to admit defeat in his bid to secure new backing.

The former professional has been working hard to try to get the necessary sponsorship but has been unable to do so. He confirmed that to Canadian media source SportCom yesterday, saying that the project has come to an end.

“We've done great things over the years, but unfortunately, SpiderTech was not the partner that we needed to continue. I can still do a lot of things in the world of cycling, but not set up a professional team,” he said.

“I look at all this and I think it will be extremely difficult to attract Canadian sponsors to bring us in World Tour. We are in Canada, not in Belgium or France, countries that have deep cycling culture.”

Set up in 2008, the team clocked up three sizeable wins last season, with Ryan Roth netting first in the Tro Bro Léon and the national road race championships, and Francois Parisien winning the Tour of Elk Grove.

It seemed to be moving forward when it gained a wildcard invite to the Tour de Suisse, its first WorldTour stage race, but Bauer announced in October that he had to put things on hold due to financial pressures.

“We’re stepping away from continental competition in order to focus our efforts on gaining UCI WorldTour status,” he stated then. “We have made the decision to focus our efforts entirely on making the jump to the WorldTour in 2014 and have determined that we need to acquire additional financial partnerships to reach this goal.”

Unfortunately things haven’t gone as planned, and Bauer knows that time has run out. He believes the fallout from the Lance Armstrong affair was a factor in the sponsor search difficulty, and so too the current financial crisis.

“While cycling is the sport that does the most in the fight against doping when compared to other sports, we must also bring order there. Another point is that the business model of the World Tour is defective. There is no equilibrium between the teams and this instability causes large companies to be reluctant to invest millions of dollars over several years.”

Bauer speaks with frustration about how things played out with the Spidertech company. Told in May 2012 that the team wanted to continue for three years, he learned five months later that it wanted to impose new conditions. By that time rider contracts were signed and he found himself in a difficult position.

“I'd rather be told in May 2013 that they stopped, so we could plan the next steps better,” he said. “But on October 9, it was much too late. At least they are committed to pay the salaries of those who had a contract for 2013, because if it was not the case, we would have gone bankrupt and careers of riders would be destroyed. "

One of those who was due to race with the team in 2013 was last year’s US road race champion, Timmy Duggan. He ultimately found a new slot with Team Saxo Tinkoff, but others had a tougher time.

Bauer regrets this and also the fact that the team won’t get a second chance. He takes some satisfaction from what he and his wife Josée Larocque achieved with the team, and hopes that another setup may emerge in the years ahead.

“We gave a chance to many Canadian athletes and now they are in the frame to stand out in one of the toughest sports in the world,” he said. “Josée and I are proud to have done what no one had succeeded before us. I still hope to see one day a Canadian team in the World Tour.”

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