Velonews: Lacking Funds, Colombian Team May Fold Ahead Of 2016


Jan 3, 2005
<figure ><img title="Team Colombia" src=""/><p>Team Colombia raced in the Vuelta a Espana this year. Photo: Tim De Waele | <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p></figure><p>MILAN (VN) — Without funds to continue into 2016, Team Colombia may pull the brakes this week. General manager Claudio Corti will decide to continue or not based on what he hears from the country’s government.</p>
<p>Corti took over and restructured the Colombian team in 2012, and helped it race the Giro d’Italia twice and Vuelta a España last month. The all-Colombian team in black relies on funds from the country’s ministry of sports, which appears to be drying up.</p>
<p>“It’s always hard with government funding,” Corti told <em>VeloNews</em>. “If I don’t have a response in two days, then I’m going to have to decide to stop. Without the ministry’s backing, I can’t go on with my own money.”</p>
<p>The UCI released a <a href=""target="_blank">list of teams</a> applying for WorldTour and Professional Continental licenses last week. Colombia, as it has been since 2011, was not among the second-division Pro Continental squads. However, Corti’s team was not among the list released last year either, and it still raced in 2015.</p>
<p>“I’ve registered the team, but I need the bank guarantee,” Corti said. “I’m waiting on confirmation; otherwise, we’ll stop the team.”</p>
<p>Corti’s 19 “Escarabajos” live and train in Brescia, in Italy’s northern Lombardy region, when they are in Europe. The team helps bridge the gap between the two continents.</p>
<p>It supported Nairo Quintana before he joined Movistar and won the Giro d’Italia and placed second in the Tour de France twice. Under Corti’s reign, Esteban Chaves, Darwin Atapuma, and Jarlinson Pantano developed.</p>
<p>Chaves, now with Orica-GreenEdge, won two stages in the Vuelta a España this year. He won the overall title at the <a href=""target="_blank">Abu Dhabi Tour</a> last weekend. Atapuma is a member of BMC Racing and Pantano rides for IAM Cycling.</p>
<p><a href=""target="_blank">Their success</a> is Corti’s downfall. Once his riders perform well, the bigger teams scoop them up and leave Corti searching for new talent. Because he does not have a big budget and the guarantee to ride the big races like the WorldTeams do, the Colombians see little reason to stay.</p>
<p>MTN-Qhubeka, for example, began as an African team, but looked abroad for top cyclists to enter big races and attract bigger sponsors. Team principal Doug Ryder said that doing so means he has less Africans on the roster, but the ones that he has, he is able to develop to a higher level.</p>
<p>With Mark Cavendish now on its roster, <a href=""target="_blank">MTN could race in the WorldTour</a> next year after signing new sponsors Dimension Data and Deloitte.</p>
<p>Besides the government, which is pouring more money into sport with the Olympics coming up in nearby Rio de Janeiro, Corti is talking to private sponsors. He admitted, however, that his chances of finding one are slim.</p>
<p>Without funds, he and his 19 cyclists will have to make other plans for 2016.</p>
<p>“I’ve been in the sport for years,” added Corti, who has managed Lampre, Saeco, and Barloworld with Chris Froome. “If we don’t race in 2016, we’ll come back for 2017.”</p>
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