JLT Condor have announced that they will fold at the end of the season after being unable to find a new title sponsor for the 2019 season. They are the second men’s British domestic team to stop this season with ONE Pro Cycling choosing to close their men’s team and set up a women’s team.
Set up by Condor Cycles, and managed by John Herety, the team has been a fixture of the British domestic scene since 2007. Multinational company JLT joined the team as a secondary sponsor in 2013, replacing the bicycle clothing brand Rapha. The following season, they signed a three-year deal as primary sponsor, which was set to run out at the end of 2018. Though they will not race as a team next season, Condor Cycles remain hopeful of finding a new sponsor in the future.
“This past decade of supporting the team has made me extremely proud. I’ve seen Condor bicycles ridden to National Championship victories, to wins in Australia, Japan, France, Spain and South Korea, to name but a few,” said Condor Cycles managing director Grant Young. “There have been highs, lows, and many medals. We have all enjoyed working alongside JLT, a business of enthusiastic people keen to learn more about the sport, many of whom are cyclists.
“Up to now, we have been unable to find a partner to fill the position of JLT, but we will continue to search for one. Condor will continue to support cycle sport in Britain, as we have done since my father started the brand in 1948.”
JLT will not completely step back from cycling and is set to sponsor JLT Condor rider, and multiple Olympic track champion Ed Clancy on his route to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Korsaeth decides to quit cycling
Truls Korsaeth has made the surprise decision to bring his contract with Astana to an early conclusion and stop his career as a cyclist. The news was first broken by Norwegian broadcaster TV2 on Tuesday and confirmed by the team a short while later.
A former under-23 national time trial champion, Korsaeth turned professional with Astana last season after four seasons on the Norwegian outfit Team Joker. He has suffered with illness throughout this season and has not ridden since abandoning the Tour de Yorkshire in May. While sitting on the sidelines, the pull of ambitions outside of cycling brought Korsaeth to the conclusion that it was better to call time on his short career.
“I have struggled with illness for a while, and this summer I realised that I was not going to come back to racing before the season was over,” Korsaeth said in a statement issued by Astana. “Next to cycling, I always had an interest in other areas of life, and the possibility to study full-time has been tempting. I think that in my years at Astana I’ve realised goals and gained experiences for a lifetime.
“It is, therefore, a natural decision for me to retire, and to start a new journey. I will carry my experiences with me in the next chapter of my life, and I’m forever grateful for the team’s faith in me and, of course, for all the people I’ve met in my cycling career.”
Porte’s coach David Bailey joins Bahrain-Merida
Richie Porte’s coach David Baily has joined Bahrain-Merida as their new head of performance ahead of the 2019 season. It is not clear if he will continue to coach Porte, who has signed with Trek-Segafredo for next year.
Bailey was previously the head of performance at the BMC Racing team but left earlier this year along with several others as the team searched for a new sponsor. Bailey has also worked with British Cycling, the British Triathlon Federation and was a Senior Research Scientist with Nestle.
“It is with great pleasure that we make this announcement. David will bring a wealth of experience to the team,” said general manager Brent Copeland. “He has worked with some of the world’s best athletes and we feel he can bring many values in various departments to Bahrain Merida, not only in the general training performance but also in the time trial area where we have seen from David’s past that he has always assisted the teams he has worked with to excel in this area.”
Bailey said of his new endeavour, “I am delighted to be joining Team Bahrain Merida as head of performance from next season. Since its inception, the team has grown to become one of the best WorldTour teams in the professional cycling and I look forward to working with them as the success continues. From the outset, it was clear that we have a shared performance science philosophy and I look forward to leading this aspect of the team as well as collaborating with their partners to maximise the team’s race performances.”
Tour de France mountains jersey gets new sponsor
French supermarket chain E.Leclerc will be the new sponsor of the Tour de France’s mountains classification jersey from 2019. E.Leclerc will also sponsor a number of other ASO races and projects, including Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix and the Etape du Tour.
The company will replace fellow supermarket chain Carrefour as the sponsor of the polka-dot jersey. Carrefour had been a sponsor of the polka-dot jersey since 2009 but announced earlier this year that they would not extend their contract. They also pulled the plug on their long-term sponsorship of the French national football team.
The best climber has been awarded since 1905, with the Tour’s owner L’Auto nominating a winner. The ‘meilleur grimper’ was not officially awarded by the organisation until 1933. The polka-dot jersey has been awarded to the best climber since 1975 with Joop Zoeltemek the first to wear it and Lucien Van Impe the first winner. In 2018, Julian Alaphilippe took a commanding victory in the competition, beating compatriot and defending champion Warren Barguil by 79 points. He was the 22nd Frenchman to win the competition.