Stapleton announces that HTC Highroad will cease to exist at the end of 2011
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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Stapleton announces that HTC Highroad will cease to exist at the end of 2011

by Shane Stokes at 2:10 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Top team forced to wind down as new sponsorship talks are unsuccessful

HTC HighroadAlthough team owner Bob Stapleton said that he pursued several different avenues in relation to securing backing for 2012 and beyond, the American has admitted today that the HTC Highroad team will cease to exist at the end of the year.

Stapleton had what appeared to be a major new sponsor on board and felt that things were in place, but subsequent checks led to the unexpected collapse of the deal. Negotiations with current chief sponsor HTC Highroad were ongoing, as were talks with seven existing teams about a possible merger, but neither of those came to fruition.

“We ended our discussions with HTC last night, and ended a further merger scenario earlier today,” said Stapleton.

He said that he felt it was better to end the team and allow the athletes and staff to find positions elsewhere rather than to continue with an inadequate budget.

Stapleton said that the combined mens’ and women’s team had been far more successful than he had anticipated, easily exceeding his initial goal of 100 wins a year for three years. “We will get our 500th win sometime later this year,” he said. “We sit at 484 wins now, with over 50 Grand Tour stage wins and a remarkable list of successes.”

He said that he considered the anti-doping policies of the team to be a positive legacy, and so too the complete dedication of riders to the team’s success, putting personal ambition aside when needed. “This has been a game changer,” he said.

Stapleton added that he hoped the women’s team would continue. “We think we have some real opportunities to continue the women’s programme,” he stated. He said that he had hoped to be able to confirm that today, but that talks were ongoing and it would take longer before he was in a position to know exactly what will happen.

The Californian business man said that the investigation into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team plus the Alberto Contador positive case had both been an element in the battle to find a new backer. Although his team has no link to either, he said that one or other of those topics came up in every since sponsorship meeting he had with potential backers.

However he said another factor making things difficult for those seeking to run teams is the growth of a few squads with budgets of over 20 million Euros. “I think if you look at the super teams, there is a wealthy individual or individuals behind each one of them,” he said, pointing out that it creates a two tier structure that is difficult to compete against without equal funding.

“In general we produce heavyweight results with a middleweight budget. You can do that against people whose budgets are 50% bigger than others, but when they become 100% bigger, it gets very difficult.”


Further details plus the transcript of the full teleconference with Bob Stapleton can be found here:

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