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New British WorldTour team rumoured in French press

Joe Robinson
18 May 2020

L'Equipe claims a new 'large English sponsor' could be stepping into cycling for 2021

After a weekend of speculation regarding Chris Froome's future and a potential mid-season move away from Team Ineos, one piece of news that went under the radar was rumours of a new British WorldTour team.

French newspaper L'Equipe ran a story on Saturday speculating on the potential teams that could offer a contract to 34-year-old Froome as he continues his quest for a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title. 

The piece cited obvious options such as Bahrain-McLaren, Israel Start-Up Nation and Movistar, however ended with the line 'a still unknown British team would emerge next season to compete against Ineos with the support of a large English sponsor.'

There were no more details given about who the 'large English sponsor' could be, and while the accuracy of L'Equipe's claims are yet to be verified, it did cause quite a bit of conversation over the weekend.

One justification for the rumours was given by Cyclingnews that claimed that a recent merger between Virgin Media and British telecommunications firm O2 - the parent company of Movistar - could see Virgin become an investor in the existing Spanish cycling team.

With certain teams struggling financially due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and some already confirming their plans to withdraw from the sport, notably CCC Team, it is highly likely we will witness new investors coming into the men's WorldTour for 2021, but whether that will mean a new British team remains to be seen.

As for Froome's future, Team Ineos spent the weekend downplaying rumours that its seven-time Grand Tour champion could be departing imminently.

Froome is out of contract at the end of the 2020 season and an extension has still to be agreed.