Cycling Team HTC-Highroad Loses Sponsor, Will Fold Men's Team At End Of Season
The California-based HTC-Highroad cycling team, which “has fielded the most successful men's and women's teams in the world the past several years, fell short in its search for a new title sponsor and will cease operating its men's team at the end of this season,” according to Bonnie Ford of ESPN.com. Team Owner Bob Stapleton Thursday said that the sport's “chaotic economic structure, along with continuing fallout from the still-unresolved doping case" involving Alberto Contador and the federal investigation of Lance Armstrong and his past teams, “helped doom the quest.” Stapleton: "I absolutely don't want to be in the position of blaming anyone or to suggest anything other than we didn't get it done, but there are some destabilizing factors in the sport, and there is a concentration of wealth in a handful of teams that is going to make this very challenging for many teams and the sport in general." Stapleton said of the effect of the Contador and Armstrong storylines, "I don't think there's been a single discussion with a potential sponsor where one or the other wasn't talked about at some length. It's been a factor in everyone's view of cycling that we've talked to in the last year." He said that Taiwan-based smartphone company HTC “could not come to a decision internally about continuing its sponsorship” (ESPN.com, 8/4). Stapleton last weekend said that he “thought he had a new sponsor, but negotiations ended.” Stapleton: “We thought we had a partner that would have given us the necessary budget to operate the team on the same level as the past four years, but that deal collapsed Sunday night” (LATIMES.com, 8/4).