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Recently the news was confirmed that Team NetApp will extend and welcome Endura as a second name sponsor through to the end of 2014.
This is seen as a merger in many quarters but to me it looks a bit more more like the closure of the Endura Racing team with sponsorship, resources and some of the bigger name riders moving to the German squad.
Finance in pro cycling is tough as it is in many other areas of business right now, and I’m sure this decision wasn’t taken lightly- if Endura Racing had been able to secure a big sponsor to meet its ambition to gain Pro Continental status then I’m sure it would have continued.
However it does raise a few questions:
Who are the 8 riders? One presumes it will be the bigger names that have raced the European circuit this year but this is just speculation. Paul Voss is German so that is an obvious fit and we may see the likes of Camano, Mandri, Wetterhall and Dempster but hopefully there will be some UK riders moving up too. Bibby’s future is uncertain, and you’d expect riders who have focused more on the UK calendar like Wilkinson and McEvoy to be looking for new squads but there are some talented young riders like Rowsell and Thwaites.
Photo: Ian Bibby, Tour Series Kirkcaldy by Larry Hickmott | www.VeloUK.net
What about the riders who are left? Hopefully they can all find teams, and this announcement has come relatively early on. Brian Smith is good at moving riders from team to team and has hinted that Endura needs a presence in the UK so maybe a low level sponsorship or involvement in one of the domestic squads will remain. I’ve seen it mentioned that Endura still need a presence in the UK and they have been incredibly successful in the Tour Series and Premier Calendar this year.
John Tiernan Locke’s future is unconfirmed but everybody thinks he’ll be moving to Sky. I joked today that Netapp were working to help Endura pull back the break in the Tour of Britain, because maybe they would benefit from Locke’s points next year, but he has said he is expecting to join a World Tour team. It will be interesting to see where he goes and how he develops.
Most importantly: what colour will the kit be? I have enjoyed the black and lime green and it would be a shame if this disappears but I would expect it to be different.
It will be great to see a Scottish-backed outfit moving onwards and upwards to European level, but I can’t help but feel this is the end of an era for a team that has its genesis in a local shop team from Pedal Power in West Calder. There’s a sad tinge but also expectancy for the future.
Photo by Joolze Dymond | www.joolzedymond.com
Below is the news in full: