Jamis Bicycles announces Tuesday that it will not continue its support of the Jamis-Sutter Home Continental team, and that 2016 will be the final season for the long-running American team. Doug Martin, the company's sports marketing director, cited a lack of additional funding from other sources as the reason the team could not stay afloat.
"Unfortunately, our team has always been dependent on outside sponsorship and despite our best efforts – even late in the game – we simply could not bring in the necessary non-endemic support in time to keep it together," Martin said.
Jamis has been a longtime supporter of the team. In 2008, the American bike manufacturer became the official bike sponsor of the team that began in 2003 as Colavita Pro Cycling. It took over title sponsorship in 2010, and operated as Jamis-Sutter Home Pro Cycling for two seasons. From 2013-15 it became Jamis-Hagens Berman Pro Cycling and in 2016 went back to Jamis-Sutter Home. Last year, the team lost sponsor Hagens Berman, which went on to support the Axeon program in 2016.
In addition, director Sebastian Alexandre confirmed to Cyclingnews that the team lost Sutter Home as a co-title sponsor for next season. "We couldn't get enough money to run the team the way we wanted. Sutter Home decided to stop sponsor cycling, they have been great and sponsor the team for 12 seasons, but without them it was just too much for Jamis."
A former rider of the team, Alexandre took over directing and management duties in 2009. During that time, and on a relatively small budget, he guided the team to success in both North and South America. Some of the team's notable results include stage wins at the Tour de San Luis, Rutas de America and Vuelta de Chile. In the US, the team has won stages at the Tour of the Gila, Joe Martin Stage Race and podiums at the Tour of California, USA Pro Challenge and Tour of Utah.
This year, the team has won races at the Tour of Colombia, Tour of Gila, Joe Martin Stage Race, Redlands Classic, among others.
In a post on Twitter, Alexandre said, "I am proud of what we accomplished. Thanks to everyone who was involve and made this team so special for 14 years."
Some of the team's most notable riders, who are currently under contract include Janier Acevedo, Sebastian Haedo and Eric Marcotte, while previous riders included Daniel Jaramillo, Gregory Brenes, Ben Jacques-Maynes,Tom Zirbel, and sprinters Juan Jose Haedo and Ivan Dominguez.
"The team was like a family," Sebastian Haedo said. "For me it was part of my family and it was one of the reasons I came back after I went to the WorldTour teams. I did not have to think hard to determine what I wanted to do--I just wanted to come back. We were a completely different type of team, everyone gave 100% to the team, we always worked together and we had a very personal/close connection to each other."
Martin noted that the team, including riders and staff, were notified of the company's decision to close the program several weeks ago and that they are currently looking for new places with other teams for next season.
"Closing the doors is not easy, especially given the success and rich history of this program," Martin said. "Team Director Sebastian Alexandre has been at the helm of this program for nine years and has done an amazing job. Year after year, regardless of budget size, he has assembled the kind of roster and garnered the type of success most others can only hope for."
Alexandre also expressed his emotions over the closing of the team in a press release, saying, “When you run a team for this many years there is a lot of emotional involvement.
"We all wanted this to continue—especially Jamis—but we simply ran out of time. The good news is most of our guys have been placed or are in conversations with other teams and I am glad we made the collective decision early enough to manage the riders properly. Carine Joannou, (Jamis Bicycles President and CEO) has been wonderful and we are eternally grateful for all she has done over the last nine years."
Alexandre could not confirm his plans for the 2017 season but told Cyclingnews that he will remain in the sport. "I will continue involve in cycling, I can not officially confirm my plan for next year. But I am happy with a new opportunity it was given to me. So I really look forward to another step in the sport.
"I want to really thank John Profaci, Wendy Nyberg, Steve Berman and Carine for their support and trust in me and my riders. We went trough good and difficult times over the years, but we were always successful as we really worked as a team, between sponsors, staff and riders."