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Team Sky could continue until 2021 with Comcast money; merger with Israeli team rumoured

Joe Robinson
9 Jan 2019

Reports suggest media giants willing to stay for extra two seasons while Israeli takeover is also rumoured

Team Sky could be set to live on past 2020 as reports suggest that Comcast, new owners of the broadcasting company, is willing to finance the team through to the 2021 season.

Today's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper reported that Comcast has given team manager Dave Brailsford the assurance of 70% of the team's budget for the next two seasons with the remaining 30% open for other sponsors to fill. 

The same report also suggests that Comcast would be happy to supply the team's funding without being present on the jersey, a similar situation experienced by Dutch team Blanco in 2012 when Rabobank withdrew from the men's WorldTour and continued to race without a named sponsor.

Gazzetta was unable to confirm whether the 70% derives from the team's overall budget of £36 million or of Sky's input but either way, this could give some much-needed assurance to Brailsford, who has been forced into finding a new financial source following the decision of Sky to step back from pro cycling.

In December, it was announced that the British broadcasting company would end its decade-long partnership deciding to refocus its efforts on other ventures such as its Ocean Rescue campaign and the development of grassroots cricket in the UK. 

However, this two-year buffer would give Brailsford more time to find a long-term replacement to Sky and also safeguard the expensive contracts of star riders such as Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome and Egan Bernal. 

One of those long-term guarantees could be provided by the financial might behind ProContinental team Israel Cycling Academy as other reports suggest the Candian-Israeli billionaire behind the team has shown interest in purchasing Team Sky.

In an article with Velonews, it was hinted that Sylvan Adams was keen to see his team ride the 2020 Tour de France and that the best possible way of ensuring this would be simply to purchase an existing team, with Team Sky being the most obvious suitors.  

'We have several discussions with several WorldTour teams, I am aware of the market. We keep our eyes open and we are opportunistic,' said Adams.

'Israel Cycling Academy is growing steadily. But if an opportunity passes, we can consider it. Sometimes you have to create your own happiness.'

While the rumours of a Team Sky bid were neither confirmed nor denied, it's a logical move for Adams who has poured much of his personal wealth into the team in recent years.

Adams is one of the biggest financial sources in cycling's second division and has helped provide enough funds to have the largest team roster outside of the WorldTour. 

His funding of cycling also reaches further than just the Israel Cycling Academy team with it reported that the billionaire donated $80 million towards Israel's successful bid to host the start of the Giro d'Italia in 2018.