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Assos saves future of African WorldTour team NTT Pro Cycling

Swiss clothing brand will replace NTT as named sponsors in 2021, securing the team's future

Joe Robinson
20 Nov 2020

Swiss cycling clothing brand Assos has helped secure the future of African WorldTour team NTT Pro Cycling, becoming a named sponsor of the team for the next two seasons.

Doug Ryder's team will be called Team Qhubeka Assos from 2021 with the Swiss brand reported to be contributing to the team's €8 million budget.

The decision of Assos to become a named sponsor with the team comes after Japanese communications company NTT decided to withdraw its headline sponsorship at the end of 2020.

'I am really happy to have gained the support of some incredible people and partners including Assos of Switzerland who have stepped in to be a headline sponsor,' team manager Doug Ryder said on the announcement.

'To be able to recreate the team as Team Qhubeka Assos talks to exactly what we continue to strive for, and that is to be a purpose-led, high-performance racing team.

'The last few weeks have been incredible seeing all the comments from fans in terms of how this team has connected with them in different ways. I am so happy we can continue to create hope and opportunity through our team and with the Qhubeka Charity.

'I look forward to welcoming new partners to Team Qhubeka Assos as we plan and prepare for a new season in 2021 in a world that has been so heavily impacted by the pandemic.

'The bicycle continues to be a tool to change the lives of so many people for commuting, for sport, for health, for freedom and access. Our team has always been about much more than victories, but we do love to win.'

The team failed to clarify whether they would be looking to apply for WorldTour status in 2021. After missing out on the original cut-off for UCI WorldTour licences, if the team did decide to retrospectively apply it will incur a fine for missing the deadline.

Regardless, Ryder managing to secure the future of the team will bring clarity and stability to the riders and staff that had yet to leave the setup. 

Before Assos was confirmed as the new headline sponsor, a raft of talent decided to sign contracts elsewhere including Edvald Boasson Hagen and Michael Valgren, who both confirmed their respective departures to Total-Direct Energie and Education First in the past week.

Controversial sports director Bjarne Riis also departed from the team earlier this month.

A core of riders have been offered contract extensions such as Victor Campaenaerts and Max Walscheid, while it is expected that current road race European Champion Giacomo Nizzolo will remain at the team too.

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