Stapleton says for riders’ sake, decision had to be made now to wind up HTC Highroad
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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Stapleton says for riders’ sake, decision had to be made now to wind up HTC Highroad

by Shane Stokes at 2:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
States team and staff need sufficient time to get new deals for 2012

Bob StapletonFollowing on from the sport-shaking news that the HTC Highroad men’s team will disband at the end of the season, owner Bob Stapleton has said that a decision had to be reached to release the riders in time for them to be able to find good positions elsewhere.

Although five months remain until the end of the year and the Europcar team showed that late sponsorship acquisitions are possible, the American didn’t believe it was possible to secure the necessary budget to continue at the top level in the sport.

“After an exhaustive search to secure long term sponsorship we have concluded that it's time to release our team members to pursue other options,” he stated today. “Our team's success has been based on our outstanding people. It's in their best interest that we make this decision now."

Several of the team’s riders have already found places elsewhere. The Velits brothers Peter and Martin have signed contracts with the Quick Step team while Patrick Gretsch will head to Skil-Shimano. Mark Cavendish has long been rumoured to be going to Sky Procycling, although no formal confirmation has yet been made.

The Briton, who has been the team’s most successful rider in recent Tours de France, winning 20 stages in all, has said that he wants to wait until a later point to announce where he will be racing.

Stapleton regrets the fact that the project will stop, but said that he takes a lot of satisfaction from how it has performed in recent years. “The team has had unmatched athletic success. The dedication shown by our athletes, management team and staff year after year has been exceptional. Together they created one of the most successful teams in cycling's history,” he said.

“Our athletes are the most sought after in the sport, and our management and staff are the most capable in cycling. They will lead new teams and the sport forward. Helping to create the individual success of the people in our team has been the most important and enjoyable element of our management team. We wish everyone the best for the future.”

The team will continue until the end of the year, with one aim taking its 500th win. It has clocked up a staggering 484 since 2008. Stapleton hopes that the women’s team will continue, although it is as yet unknown if it will be at the same level.

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