One of cycling's leading agents has expressed his full confidence in Team Sky and Dave Brailsford to find a new sponsor for 2020 after Sky announced on Wednesday that they would be ending their long-standing commitment with the team at the end of the 2019 season.
The news confirms an end to a relationship that goes back to 2010 and has seen the team court controversy but also win the Tour de France six times and almost every other major race in professional cycling.
Rider agent Giuseppe Acquadro works with many of the top names in cycling and has 12 of 28 of Team Sky's riders on his books for 2019. It is little wonder that he is currently at the Team Sky camp in Mallorca. The riders were informed of the news regarding Sky on Tuesday night and Acquadro has Michal Kwiatkowski, Egan Bernal, Ivan Sosa, and Diego Rosa on his client list.
"The atmosphere here is good," Acquadro told Cyclingnews as he went between meetings at the Team Sky camp.
"The riders are all okay and they know that Dave is already working for a new sponsor and we all think that it will be okay. I'm confident and I think that the riders are too. I don't think that it's a really big surprise. It's been ten years and then a change of ownership at Sky. So it's not such a surprise."
Team Sky have announced that they hope the team's future will be secured by the time the Tour de France comes around in July.
The way in which cycling works, and the fact that the team hold so many marquee riders means that there will be no shortage of suitors for the likes of Bernal and Tour de France winners Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome, should they be able to afford the rider's wages. Riders cannot officially sign contracts until August 1 due to UCI regulations and if Brailsford needs additional time from Thomas and the rest of the squad he is likely to get it.
"We will give Dave a lot of time, well into next year and towards the Tour de France. We obviously hope that it's all okay and decided before then but I have confidence that the team will find a new sponsor soon."
Geraint Thomas only recently signed a new contract with Team Sky until 2021, while Froome still has another two years on his existing deal.
Team Sky were launched at the start of the 2010 season with the aim of winning the Tour de France within five years, and with a British rider. They achieved that in 2012 through Bradley Wiggins.
- Sky to end sponsorship after 2019
- Team Sky set 2019 Tour de France as deadline to find new sponsors
- Team Sky created 'brilliant sponsor template' but may struggle to find replacement
- Chris Froome: We are not finished by any means
- Acquadro confident Brailsford can save Team Sky