Riders and management expressed their dismay at the news that Skyter GmbH will not sponsor Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung in the coming year, as previously announced. The team announced last night that Skyter would not fulfill its financial obligations. The company has responded that the team had not provided it with sufficient information as to the amount of money required.
“This is a catastrophe. We were in the middle of our planning and had our first races planned,” said sports director Jochen Dornbusch to rad-net.de. “We need a miracle to happen, or else the only German women's team is history – and I don't believe in miracles.”
“How can we pull a sponsor out of the hat now? I really don't know now how things can work out. Some of the girls will find a new team, but at this point certainly not all of them.”
“What should I say, that we're thrilled?” asked German time trial champion and team co-captain Trixi Worrack. Udo Springer, Vice President of the German Cycling Federation, was also shocked. “It is dramatic for cycling in Germany if the only professional women's team won't exist. Now it will be very difficult for the management to compensate for the loss of the main sponsor.”
The team announced Friday evening that Skyter was withdrawing from its agreement to sponsor the team, due to failing co-sponsors. But also, “Skyter continues to produce new excuses as to why it must not pay the agreed-upon money,” the team said, and indicated it would take the company to court.
Skyter, a yacht-chartering agency whose German branch is headquartered near Nürnberg, put the blame back on the team. “The still incomplete information we have received, leaves, in Skyter's view, significant gaps in funding for the upcoming 2010 season, which would endanger a normal race operation,” it said.
“Because of the passage of time and the poor flow of information, a satisfactory explanation of the open financial questions and a further patient waiting by Skyter are no longer possible,” the company said.
The team was to have been known as the Skyter World Team, with the nickname “Speed Queens.” Newly signed for the 2010 season were British Olympic Champion Nicole Cooke, Tiffany Cromwell of Australia, Jennifer Hohl of Switzerland and Germans Angela Hennig and Tina Liebig Big names already on the team include former World time trial Champion Amber Neben of the US, and Germans Worrack and Charlotte Becker.
Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world - twitter.com/cyclingnewsfeed.