The IAM Cycling team will fold at the end of the 2016 season after failing to find a secondary sponsor, the team has announced. There have been many rumours regarding the team’s future in recent weeks, including a possible merger with BMC, and suspicions of their potential demise emerged last week.
The team’s founder Michel Thétaz informed the riders and staff of the decision, before issuing a public press release, on Monday morning after travelling to Italy for the Giro d’Italia.
“IAM Cycling will cease operations at the end of the 2016 season,” said Thétaz. “This is a failure for which I take full responsibility. In these four years of intense activity, which have been marked by unforgettable memories, IAM has enhanced its credibility and received enviable visibility.”
IAM Cycling, sponsored by Thétaz’s investment management company IAM Funds, began life in 2012 but was formally launched in January of 2013. They initially registered as a Pro Continental team with Thomas Lofkvist getting them off to a strong start by taking overall victory at the Tour Méditerranéen. They would take nine stage or overall victories throughout their debut season.
They made the step up to WorldTour level in 2015 and have since struggled to compete at the highest level. So far this season, they have taken just five victories and are just 14th in the WorldTour rankings. Thétaz has struggled to find a sponsor to invest in his team and believed that it was better to step away rather than to drop back down to Pro Continental level.
“We have arrived at a key moment in the team’s evolution with the prospect of entering a new three year cycle; however that proved to be an impossible undertaking for IAM Cycling since we have failed to find a co-sponsor, and consequently will be unable to continue our progress to the summit of the sport’s hierarchy,” said Thétaz.
“It was unthinkable to consider returning to the lower levels, or even to play a subordinate role to the greatest teams with budgets of 12 million. Of course, I regret this situation, but I prefer to rejoice in what we have accomplished over the past four years.”
A total of 28 riders and many more staff are employed by the IAM Cycling team, including Leigh Howard, Mathias Frank, Matteo Pelucchi, Heinrich Haussler and Mathias Brandle. The team currently has riders at the Giro d’Italia and the Tour of Norway and the Giro d’Italia.