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'Brexit will determine the future of cycling teams' – An Post manager Kurt Bogaerts

Kurt Bogaerts
Joe Robinson
2 Nov 2017

Brexit and the political crisis in Catalunya blamed for An Post's failure to find a sponsor for 2018

An Post Chain Reaction team manager Kurt Bogaerts has warned of the potential implications of Brexit on the future of professional cycling teams after failing to secure a main sponsor for 2018.

In comments echoed by fellow team manager and An Post founder Sean Kelly, Bogaerts pointed to Brexit and the political crisis in Catalunya as creating a climate of financial uncertainty for the 2018 season.

Speaking to Cyclist, Bogaerts suggested the uncertainty surrounding the UK's exit from the European Union could have implications for current professional teams given how many of them look to British companies for sponsorship.

'Brexit will determine the future of certain professional cycling teams,' Bogaerts said. 'In a good or bad way who knows, but the UK is currently a major target for companies to provide sponsorship.'

'We were an Irish registered team, but Irish companies have close trading relationships with the UK, so the financial consequences of Brexit are unclear for companies in Ireland and they want to prepare.'

Unwilling to commit

With the specifics of the future trading relationship between the UK and EU yet to be established, businesses are understandably reluctant to commit to the kind of investment teams like An Post rely on to survive.

And those concerns have only worsened with the current political crisis in Catalunya, especially with Girona having long been a popular base for both teams and riders.

Civil unrest and the recentralisation of devolved powers back to Madrid has left the region in a state of flux. As with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, this has prevented potential sponsors from the area committing to the team.

'We have a base in Girona and interest in sponsoring us was very high,' Bogaerts told us. 'But with what is happening in Catalunya right now, no business is willing to provide a big investment.' 

The disappearance of An Post from the scene, even if only temporarily, is a major blow to Irish cycling given the team's track record of nurturing homegrown talent into the WorldTour, including the likes of Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Ryan Mullen (Cannondale-Drapac).

And it comes in the wake of other development teams closing their doors. Last season saw Rabobank pull the plug from their under-23 setup, and BMC Racing have announced they will no longer run their development team from 2018.

'Cycling, today, needs development teams. Cycling needs to think how it will develop the next generation or riders and how they will fund this,' Bogaerts warned.

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