Bike Channel-canyon to continue
New funding sought as lead title sponsor goes into administration
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.”