Cervélo TestTeam will not ride into the 2011 season, but the team is merging with Garmin-Transitions to become the Garmin-Cervelo team for next season.
It’s not known which riders or how many will switch from Cervélo to Garmin-Transitions, but scores of riders and staff are scrambling to find contracts for next season following the late-hour decision to close the team at the end of the 2010 season.
Cervélo owners Phil White and Gerard Vroomen decided late Tuesday night that the increasing costs to run a top-flight team undercut their goals and ambitions for the brand. On Wednesday, riders and staff were told of the decision and the team issued a statement Thursday.
On Friday, Garmin released a statement confirming that Cervelo would be more than a bike sponsor for the team, but rather, the two teams would merge to become Garmin-Cervelo.
Cervélo general manager Joop Alberda had said the team is closing at the end of the 2010 season due to the increasing costs of running a top-level team.
“The UCI changed the rules in a subtle way (on ProTour status), and the difference was we had to increase amount of races, or we had to increase the budget tremendously,” Alberda said Friday. “That was too much for Cervélo to do on their own. They had been looking for sponsors, but that did not succeed.”
Riders and staff now will be under the gun to find contracts for next season. Many could end up with few options, but the top riders can expect to land places on teams for 2011.
The only American on the team, Ted King, declined to comment on the situation to VeloNews.
Carlos Sastre signed a deal last week to join Geox for 2011, news that indicated things might not be going so smoothly at Cervélo.
Thor Hushovd, one of the top riders on Cervélo, said he was sad to see the team end.
“We had a great run with this team and it’s too bad they could not find a way to make it work,” Hushovd told VeloNews. “I am talking to several teams right now. I hope to make a decision on my future within one week.”
The Garmin team announced Thursday that it would “join forces with Cervelo for 2011,” but gave few details about the changes.
The team said that Felt Bicycle had an option to continue with the team for 2011, but declined to exercise the option.
“Felt has been an invaluable partner since the inception of our organization and is truly an exceptional company. Together we achieved quite a bit and we have a tremendous amount of respect and gratitude for the contributions and innovations they have made to our team, organization and to cycling as a whole,” a team statement read.
The team statement also quoted Felt Bicycle: “Our organizations met in good faith to discuss an extension. After exploring all options, we decided for the good of all parties to move on. We have enjoyed great success over the course of our four-year relationship and we wish the team and its athletes continued success in the future. Felt remains committed to the sport of bicycle racing and the ideal that accompanies professional cycling. Rest assured we will continue to support elite teams and athletes in the future.”