Britain’s six-strong representation in the UCI EuropeTour has been reduced to five with the announcement that cycle retailer, Sigma Sport, has not been able to secure a joint title sponsor for 2014.
Racing as IG-Sigma Sport, the Surrey-based team had competed as a UCI Continental squad for the last two seasons with backing from the City firm.
But with IG withdrawing from cycle sponsorship, and Sigma Sport unable to secure a replacement for next year, the signature red and black jersey will be missing from the British peloton in 2014.
The retailer has vowed to continue its search for a joint title sponsor next season with the goal of a return to racing in 2015.
Sigma Sport’s Managing Director, Ian Whittingham, said: “It’s sad to see the team come to an end after so many years but we are certainly going out on a high after our great performance at the Tour of Britain this year.
“I’d like to thank the riders, staff and sponsors past and present for their commitment and support over the years helping to make it a memorable and rewarding time in the peloton.”
After a disappointing campaign in the televised Tour Series of city centre criteriums, and an early season dogged by bad luck, which included Pete Hawkins crashing out of the AN Post RAS while racing in the leader’s jersey, the team’s season turned around with victory for Joe Perrett at the Ryedale Grand Prix.
Sigma Sport intends to use 2014 as a year to continue the search for a new title sponsor with the aim of competing as a UCI team again in 2015
And the team showed it remained a force to be reckoned with in the Tour of Britain, with a series of performances in the team’s signature aggressive style that brought Pete Williams to within an ace of successfully defending his points title.
A Sigma Sport spokesman said: “Sigma Sport intends to use 2014 as a year to continue the search for a new title sponsor with the aim of competing as a UCI team again in 2015.”
Belfast-born Hawkins will race in the colours of Madison-Genesis next season, while Perrett has signed for Team Raleigh.
Ryan Mullen, winner of the Chrono des Nations espoir, has joined the Pro Continental AN Post squad managed by the legendary Sean Kelly.
The futures of the remaining squad members remain unclear, but many are likely to find their services in demand.
Matt Cronshaw, guesting as a member of the Kiwi Velo squad, won stage five of New Zealand’s Tour of Southland earlier this month, while Ross Edgar, silver medalist to Sir Chris Hoy at the Olympic Games in Beijing, will return to the track at the Glasgow round of Revolution at the end of the month.