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Drops cycling turns to crowdfunding to save 2019 season

Joe Robinson
30 Oct 2018

British women's team finds itself without title sponsor putting future in doubt

Trek-Drops have been forced into crowdfunding for the 2019 season as they announced that their planned co-title sponsor has withdrawn from the deal.

Via an Indiegogo funding page, the team stated that 'at the start of the week in which we had planned to share the news of our new title sponsor, our fantastic new technical partners and an array of talented riders, we are unfortunately having to fight to save the team.

'Last Friday evening, our new title sponsor pulled out of our agreement.'

The comment then went on to state that 'a large deficit' had been left in the budget for 2019 and that the futures of 12 riders and a number of staff have now been left at risk due to this last minute withdrawal.

The page states that the team would need donations to total £250,000. The link to the crowdfunding page can be found here.

As of 2019, Trek will no longer be title sponsors of the UK-based team, instead shifting its focus to a new women's professional team headed by Lizzie Deignan.

This left Drops on the hunt for a new technical and title sponsor which it is now still trying to secure. 

Now, the team that saw themselves ranked 14th overall in the women's WorldTour last season have been forced into this alternative revenue stream despite it sitting uncomfortably with some of the team's management.

'Personally, this is something that we have been against when it comes to professional sport but we believe we need to do all we can to keep as many of our riders and staff in employment,' the release reads.

'The aim of our crowdfunding campaign is to raise the awareness of our fight, a fight to save a team that will be the only British professionally registered women's team in 2019 with the hope that something positive unfolds.'

The statement then goes on to state that in return for financial support to the team, they would offer 'VIP experiences' for backers.

They also pleaded that they would 'welcome a chance to talk about how our team can benefit your business, inspire your workforce and tell an authentic brand story' to any prospective business willing to offer sponsorship. 

Founded in 2016, Drops Cycling offered an alternative route for young female cycling talent outside of the track-focused British Cycling programme, quickly growing to one of the world's best teams in just three seasons.

The team also prided themselves on being one of the few women's professional teams to offer a salary to each rider on he roster. 

The method of sourcing funds from the public was famously used a year ago by a struggling Slipstream Sports who found itself without title sponsorship until language company EF Education came on board

Using the hashtag #SaveArgyle, the team raised in excess of half a million dollars of its $2million target before it was saved by EF.

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