Chris Froome is motivated to attract new backer as Sky near end of road

Team Sky could be nearing the end of the road but Chris Froome believes the need to find new backing to save the team can serve as extra motivation in 2019.

Geraint Thomas celebrates  with team mate Chris Froome on the Tour de France.
Geraint Thomas celebrates with team mate Chris Froome on the Tour de France.

The four-time Tour de France winner was speaking after broadcaster Sky – which owns and sponsors Team Sky – announced on Wednesday morning it would end its investment in professional cycling next year, plunging the future of the team into doubt.

It is understood Sky’s decision came as a ‘shock’ to team principal Sir Dave Brailsford, with the team’s riders and staff only informed on Tuesday night at the start of a training camp in Mallorca.

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Froome said the news “came as a surprise” but insisted another season of success should be enough to convince new backers to come on board.

“The team has been incredibly successful and I’ve got every confidence that if the team carries on and delivers another season which has been on a par with previous years we should be able to find a new sponsor,” he said.

“We’ve got a year to replace (Sky). That’s not really for us as riders to be doing but it will be at the back of our minds and if anything will serve as extra motivation for us.”

Brailsford has set a deadline of the start of next year’s Tour de France in July to provide “clarity” on the future of the team, but must find new backers who are willing to look beyond the controversies which have dogged Team Sky in recent years and focus instead on their success.

Since launching in 2010, Team Sky have been among the most successful in the sport, winning 322 races including eight Grand Tours.

They delivered the first ever British winner of the Tour de France in Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and have won six of the last seven editions.

Sky’s decision comes in the wake of a £30billion takeover by US cable company Comcast.

It is a challenge that Brailsford insisted he was ready to embrace.

“Every change brings opportunity,” he said. “We like to build things, we’re creators, we build. From our point of view I see it very much as an opportunity.”