Cau­tious op­ti­mism for Drops’s fu­ture

Cycling Weekly - - FUNDING LATEST -

With the UCI’S dead­line for team reg­is­tra­tion now passed, at the time of go­ing to press Bri­tish women’s team Drops was yet to re­solve the fund­ing prob­lems that threat­ened its ex­is­tence. How­ever, with ne­go­ti­a­tions on­go­ing, team man­ager Bob Var­ney re­mained op­ti­mistic that the squad would con­tinue in 2019.

“It is highly likely the team will con­tinue in some form or other,” Var­ney said. “We have on­go­ing di­a­logues that we would de­scribe as mean­ing­ful. One is a UK com­pany that reached out when they saw our predica­ment on so­cial me­dia and the other is a non-uk com­pany that wants to in­crease their pro­file in Western Europe.”

Drops lost Trek as a ti­tle spon­sor in May and Var­ney has been in a race to find new fund­ing since a new backer with­drew at the be­gin­ning of Novem­ber. On hear­ing that news they launched a crowd­fund­ing cam­paign that has raised their pro­file as well as some cash.

A de­ci­sion from both prospec­tive part­ners is ex­pected this week, but even that would be too late for the UCI reg­is­tra­tion dead­line, which was Mon­day. That could en­dan­ger the team’s chances of a sus­tained Euro­pean cal­en­dar. But Var­ney’s en­thu­si­asm was not damp­ened. “We are be­ing sup­ported at the high­est level, Bri­tish Cy­cling and the UCI have been ab­so­lutely first class with their sup­port,” he said.

Fur­ther cause for op­ti­mism comes from the num­ber of riders happy to wait and see how the sit­u­a­tion pans out. “All of the girls were given the op­tion to sign else­where and they were fully aware of ev­ery­thing that is go­ing on,” Var­ney ex­plained.

“Some have signed for other teams with our full bless­ing. How­ever, we do have oth­ers who are re­main­ing com­mit­ted to the team with the hope of a pos­i­tive out­come. We are cau­tious be­cause we’ve had dis­ap­point­ment in the past, but we’re keep­ing our fingers crossed.”

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