I N THE DROPS ZONE
Cycling is often !illed with doom and gloom when it comes to sponsors, or the lack thereof, in the sport. When Drops’s owners con!irmed it was in a !ight for survival after a potential new backer pulled the plug , the team looked destined to join the long list of squads who lost sponsors and subsequently folded.
But if ever you need a bit of faith in cycling reinstated, the fact a crowdfunding campaign and outpouring of support from the public helped secure Drops’s future should do it. Like EF"Drapac a year ago, when the traditional sponsors pulled out, Drops turned to their fans. In six weeks, £25,000 had been pledged by 199 backers – not enough to run a team, but, like EF, it generated enough buzz that other partners were persuaded Drops was worth their investment.
Drops’s appeal, at least with me, is its ethos. Since it started in 2016, its aim has been to become the ‘most professional amateur team in the world.’ It never tried to be something it was not. But signi!icantly, its ability to provide a pathway for young British talent into pro racing is also why its survival is so crucial. Drops is the only UCI-registered British squad in the women’s peloton next year – 10 of its 13 riders this season were British, the majority U23 riders. The British men have had a year to remember in terms of results in 2018, but for the women to keep getting their chance to do the same, teams like Drops have to, and must, continue. Thankfully the public and fans understood that, and now the sponsors do, too.