Team Elk Haus is losing its title sponsor, and the Austrian Professional Continental team will leave the peloton. Many riders have already signed with other teams, and the team management tentatively is planning to take a year off before perhaps starting a new team.
“Yes, that is the end of the team,” Elk Haus spokesman Wolfgang Wesely told Cyclingnews. “For 2010 we found no sponsor in Austria. We will try again to build up an Austrian team for 2011.”
ELK Fertighaus AG announced that it is stopping its sponsorship of the team after 20 years of cycling sponsorship. “In times like this it is unfortunately not possible for us to consider this sponsorship due to financial reasons,” said ELK director Erich Weichselbaum. The firm, which sells and builds houses, including wooden houses, “must concentrate on our core business.”
Bernhard Rassinger, the team manager, said, “Naturally we are very sorry that ELK must end its engagement. But we understand that this is a business decision.”
It had been clear for a while that this step was likely, and Rassinger has looked for a new sponsor, without success. Many riders have already signed with other teams. “The time is going by, and we aren't getting any further. If the team is not competitive, then it is probably better to let it go and maybe wait for a year,” he told ORF.at.
Elk Haus had seven victories this season, including Stefan Denifl's overall victory in the Thüringen Rundfahrt. Markus Eibegger brought in five of the team's wins. Eibegger and Matthias Brandle have both signed with Footon-Servetto for the coming year. Denifl will ride with Cervélo TestTeam in 2010.
Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world - twitter.com/cyclingnewsfeed