After overcoming struggles with a major sponsor that nearly led to their collapse, Slipstream Sports, racing next season as EF Education First-Drapac, lost the cooperation of media company Oath, which pledged its support to the team during this year's Tour de France.
"While we will no longer be working with Slipstream, we wish the Cannondale-Drapac team success for the 2018 season," Oath spokesperson Suzanne Philion told the Denver Business Journal.
Team manager Jonathan Vaughters, when asked about the story by Cyclingnews, said the loss of Oath will not change anything for the team for 2018. "It's unfortunate, but it's fine," he said.
Oath, a subsidiary of Verizon Communications, is a media company with wide-ranging titles that include HuffPost, Yahoo Sports, Engadget and Autoblog, and Slipstream Sports announced the deal in July as a "major sponsorship" – one that would give the team a platform to bring their story to the masses.
"This partnership will allow us to open up the team in terms of content well beyond what most of the United States audience sees," Vaughters said in July. "Oath has the platforms, skill and ambition to tell the story of cycling in a myriad of ways. We want people to see us better, to get to know the riders, the staff and what it takes to be in pro cycling."
Vaughters did not disclose the scope of the deal with Oath, but only hinted in July that it was not a title sponsorship, saying, "This is big step for the team but we still have other places on the jersey for potential sponsors."
Five weeks after the deal was announced, Vaughters was forced to tell his riders that the team might not continue when an undisclosed expected partnership dried up. The team launched a crowdfunding effort that eventually led to their partnership with EF Education First, keeping most of the team – including Tour de France runner-up Rigoberto Urán – intact.
The squad unveiled their 2018 kit last week, noticeably missing the Oath logo.