French agricultural seed company RAGT Semences has announced the end of its sponsorship of the RAGT Semences cycling team. The team's inability to get entries in major races as a results of the restructure of cycling under the UCI ProTour is the reason for the ending of support for the squad, according to company president Alain Fabre.
"In 2004 the benefits were clear and obvious," said Fabre in a statement. "As a results we decided to remain as team sponsor for three years. But cycling changed dimension and we were not able to meet the requirements. We are not even able to provide our racers with a complete calendar any more. Integrity obliges us to withdraw."
Team manager Serge Barle is hopeful that the team will be able to carry on, and has two potential sponsors lined up to take RAGT Semences' place, one French company and one from Finland. "It nevertheless seems difficult to me to find a sponsor while it is currently impossible to establish a calendar," Barle told l'Equipe. "We will see what we can do over the winter but our efforts are really centered on 2007. The people in charge of cycling are living in the clouds; we have to wait for them to come down to earth."