Bike Chan­nel-canyon to con­tinue

New fund­ing sought as lead ti­tle spon­sor goes into ad­min­is­tra­tion

Cycling Weekly - - Contents - Chris Mar­shall-bell & Vern Pitt

Bike Chan­nel-canyon will con­tinue to race as a UCI Con­ti­nen­tal team in 2018, de­spite the col­lapse of the epony­mous TV chan­nel.

The TV chan­nel has shared ti­tle spon­sor­ship for the Bri­tish UCI team along­side Canyon this sea­son, but it ap­pointed ad­min­is­tra­tors last Fri­day.

Tim Elver­son, the rac­ing team’s man­ager, signed a three-year deal with Bike Chan­nel and Canyon last au­tumn, and Canyon had al­ready promised more funds for the 2018 cam­paign.

Cy­cling Weekly un­der­stands that some sec­ondary spon­sors, in­clud­ing Eis­berg and Brother, have also agreed to in­ject in­creased funds that, even with Bike Chan­nel’s po­ten­tial with­drawal, will keep the team’s bud­get at £250,000, the amount they have op­er­ated on in their de­but sea­son.

Elver­son stated that the sit­u­a­tion “wasn’t ideal” and that he may need to find a new ti­tle spon­sor. “The bud­get that is cur­rently in place, I can op­er­ate on that as a min­i­mum. But I sus­pect that one of the con­ver­sa­tions we have had with other spon­sors about next sea­son could turn into ti­tle spon­sor­ship,” he said.

CW has re­cently learned that two spon­sors of the 14-rider team have al­ready ex­pressed in­ter­ested in re­plac­ing Bike Chan­nel as a lead ti­tle spon­sor.

The team has had a suc­cess­ful first year, plac­ing third in a stage of the Tour de York­shire with Chris Opie and im­press­ing at the Tour of Bri­tain. At the lat­ter, Harry Tan­field fin­ished seventh on stage four and tem­po­rar­ily led Thurs­day’s time trial, con­tin­u­ing the im­pres­sive form that has seen him col­lect two podium places and top-10 re­sults in pro ker­messes in Bel­gium in Au­gust.

The TV sta­tion’s fall into ad­min­is­tra­tion last Fri­day took many by sur­prise.

Rob Hayles, who fronts Bike Chan­nel’s The Coach Pro se­ries along­side pun­dit Brian Smith, said: “I’d been push­ing work to­wards them in the hope that it would grow and build. We’re half­way through film­ing The Coach Pro; the first episode has gone out on air. I won­dered what was hap­pen­ing; I’ve been try­ing to get hold of pro­duc­tion to get some more film­ing dates… I got the im­pres­sion there were some prob­lems on the hori­zon but I didn’t re­alise it would be quite this se­vere.”

He added: “I’m owed money, as are some other peo­ple; how the le­gal side of that works I have no idea.”

Hayles said he didn’t think the chan­nel’s demise said any­thing neg­a­tive about the pub­lic’s ap­petite for watch­ing cy­cling pro­grammes. He said: “I know with work that I’ve done for them and the footage I’ve seen from the stuff from Italy, the qual­ity of the prod­uct that we’re happy to view isn’t the same as what they are happy to view. I think maybe they got a bit caught out by that. It’s ex­pen­sive to put stuff to­gether, it’s not as sim­ple as point­ing a cam­era at some­thing. That seems to be what they’ve done over the years and that doesn’t wash here in the UK.”

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