The Jelly Belly Candy Company announced today that it would not renew its sponsorship next year for the US Continental team it has sponsored for the past 19 years, ending one of the longest-running partnerships in professional cycling.
The decision comes after an evaluation of the company’s entire sponsorship portfolio, according to a statement from the candy company best known for its creatively flavoured jelly bean candies and sport beans.
“We have not reached this decision easily,” said Jelly Bean Candy Company Vice President of Global Marketing Rob Swaigen. “While we have enjoyed our long relationship with the team and the sport of cycling, we feel that the time is right for us to look for opportunities to more closely align our sponsorship programs with company objectives. It has been a pleasure to support this team and their races, to provide a platform to identify young talent, and to develop and prepare our athletes to advance to the highest level of the sport.”
The Jelly Belly Cycling team, run by longtime manager and former pro Danny Van Haute, began in 2000 and has raced on the US domestic circuit and internationally since then. There have been many sponsorship configurations, but with the candy maker always getting top billing.
Most recently, the team competed at the Tour of Utah, where Keegan Swirbul took seventh overall. Jelly Belly-Maxxis will be competing this week at the Colorado Classic, and then the team plans to travel to China in September and October to finish out the 2018 season. The team missed out earlier this year on an invitation to the Tour of California, where Jelly Belly has its corporate headquarters.
Van Haute is continuing to look for a title sponsor to replace Jelly Belly next year, according to the statement released today, and he reamins optimistic that he'll be successful.
“We have built a strong team with the help of Jelly Belly as a sponsor for almost two decades, and I thank the Jelly Belly family for their support,” Van Haute said.
Throughout its 19-year run, the team has achieved noteworthy results, including several national championship titles in the US, Canada and Mexico. Past and present riders of note include Jason McCartney, Tyler Farrar, Alex Candalario, Jonas Carney, Danny Pate, Jeremy Powers, Andrew Bajadali, Brad Huff, Kiel Reijnen, Todd Wells, Jonny Clarke, Will Routley, Mike Friedman, Carter Jones, Luis Lemus, Jacob Rathe, Lachlan Morton, Freddy Rodriguez, Serghei Tvetcov and Gavin Mannion.