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Assos help save Doug Ryder's WorldTour team

NTT Ghebreigzabhier Giro stage 12 2020 Cesenatico
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Further details have emerged surrounding the future of Douglas Ryder’s WorldTour team with Assos set to step in and help finance the squad for the next two years. At this stage, a title sponsor is still unclear with reports already in the media that the Qhubeka charity will become the leading name of the squad while Assos help fund the €8 million operation. Cyclingnews understands that the clothing brand were keen to build on an already existing relationship with the squad and could still be listed as a co-sponsor.

The move comes after current title sponsor NTT announced that they would step down from the team at the end of 2020 in a move that was confirmed in September.

As already reported by Cyclingnews this week, the management of the team has been hastily trying to fill spots on the squad after most of the team’s leaders signed contracts elsewhere, with Michael Valgren and Edvald Boasson Hagen moving to EF Pro Cycling and Total Direct Energie, respectively. 

The core of the South African riders on the team are set to be offered contract extensions with Jay Thomson, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, and Nic Dlamini all set to stay. The team is also in discussions with EF Pro Cycling rider Simon Clarke. 

Giacomo Nizzolo, the team’s best sprinter in 2020, has yet to re-sign but is expected to stay, and Max Walscheid, Domenico Pozzovivo, Andreas Stokbro, Michael Gogl, Dylan Sunderland, and Victor Campenaerts have all been given new deals until the end of 2022. Carlos Barbero has been given a one-year extension.

As well as Clarke, the team has approached Fabio Aru, although Cyclingnews has been unable to confirm if the Italian has yet signed. He was last week linked with  Vini Zabù-Brado-KTM .

The funding from Assos would help ensure that the team will remain at WorldTour level, with BMC also staying on as the bike sponsor for the team.

“It’s not 100 per cent but normally today or in the next day we’ll have confirmation that the team will be here next year,” Pozzovivo told Cyclingnews on Monday.

“We’re just waiting for the confirmation and if the team continues then I’ll stay. I think it will be WorldTour next year and I’m optimistic and confident in Douglas Ryder. He is doing the maximum and it’s not easy to find sponsors. I don’t know exactly who the sponsor will be.”

Directeur sportif Lars Michaelsen declined to comment on the certainty of the team’s future, early this week only telling Cyclingnews that, “it was a work in process to try and survive. Whether that’s successful or not I can’t answer that one.”

Back at the end of September, the team announced that Japanese telecommunications company NTT would not be renewing its sponsorship contract, ending a six-year partnership. Co-sponsor Alcatel-Lucent has also pulled out.

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