Riders and staff of the ailing Cult Energy team will be able to breathe a sigh of relief as the German company Stölting Cycling GmbH has stepped forward as primary sponsor to save the team. The Pro Continental team will be known as Stölting Service Group in 2016 and will ride under a German licence, making it the third to do so in the top two tiers of cycling, along with Giant-Alpecin and Bora-Argon 18.
"We spent a lot of time and work in the past few days to secure the future of the team Stölting for 2016. We thought [we had] found a reputable sponsor and partner with Cult with whom we wanted to go together in the coming years,” said managing director Hans Mosbacher. “All the more, I am pleased that in spite of the failure of Cult we have succeeded in a very short time to ensure the budget for next season. In the planning and execution of that, the entire team stood excellently together.”
The Cult Energy team has been plagued by financial issues during its short time in cycling. They had several major blows this season, including the loss of their General Manager Christa Skelde due to stress, the theft of their bikes at the Tour du Haut Var and sponsorship problems that forced them to end the season early.
Stölting had already come on board as a secondary sponsor for 2016 in August but was forced to reconsider its investment when Cult Energy decided to pull out of the team last week, citing Stölting’s failure to "fulfill their promises." In the statement issued on Wednesday, Stölting denied the accusations and described Cult Energy’s decision to pull out as "incomprehensible."
“With the current solution, we are also fulfilling our social responsibility according to our employees. The wrongful termination of our previous contractor who refuses to meet its obligations in 2016 for incomprehensible and incorrect reasons will be clarified legally. I want to thank the whole team again at the end most cordially,” Mosbacher added.
Stölting have been involved in cycling for the past three seasons with a Continental team riding under a German licence. The 2014 junior time trial champion Lennard Kamna is one of the riders who will move across from that set-up. He will join riders such Linus Gerdemann, Fabian Wegmann and new signing Gerald Ciolek.
"I am convinced of the quality of the team Stölting Service Group in 2016. The solidarity of the whole team, operators and sponsors in 2016 in dealing with the current extraordinary situation shows me that we have already successfully completed a team-building measure as a team, no survival camp in the world could offer," Mosbacher said.