The men's Katusha-Alpecin WorldTour team has been taken over by Israel Cycling Academy but the Katusha Sports clothing brand will remain in the sport in 2020, becoming the clothing supplier and title sponsor of the Bigla team. The team has announced it would be known as Bigla-Katusha next season.
"We've had 3 very successful years of working within the UCI men's WorldTour as our main partner, and we're now at a time where we are ready to extend our reach. We believe fully in women's cycling and we couldn't be more excited to kick off this project,” Alexis Schoeb, CEO of Katusha Sports said in an announcement.
Bigla has signed Clara Koppenburg as a team leader for 2020 but has lost Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig to FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope. Bigla-Katusha is not one of the eight women's team have applied for WorldTour status for 2020.
Last year Campana was accused of bullying and intimating several riders in 2015. He denied any wrongdoing, telling Cyclingnews, "What has been written is definitely not our side." No action was taken by the UCI but the team announced it would implement a mediation and conflict management service.
"It is great that Katusha has made the decision to come on board our team. They are a long-term partner and supporter of professional cycling, and will now be further venturing into women’s cycling through their partnership with our team," Campana said in the announcement.
"This is clearly a sign that the sport, and our team, are continuing to develop along the right path. We are very pleased that Katusha will not only be providing us with advanced cycling apparel, but will also become the second title partner of the team. With this investment, Katusha demonstrates their innovation as well as confidence in the market of female cyclists around the world."
Katusha Sports is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and will use their partnership with Bigla to develop its women's range of clothing.
"With the pro team as a research 'lab' the goal of Katusha Sports will be to be able to offer the best in cutting edge technology, function and style for the women's market," Katusha Sports said.
"Our staff at Katusha Sports is 50% female, with our head of product development included in that. It might not sound like a stand out figure at first, but with an industry that is roughly 10% women, we're proud of this parity.
"We believe our partnerships and support should be aligned with this. We're excited to be partnering with such a well run and organised team, and we look forward to working closely with the riders and staff."
The 2020 Bigla-Katusha team kit will be revealed in January 2020 and available for purchase.
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