Qhubeka NextHash will not make the UCI's initial deadline to submit an application for the 2022 UCI WorldTour, team principal Douglas Ryder has confirmed.
The South African squad, who have been suffering financial problems in recent months, did not submit their paperwork by the 'soft' deadline of Friday, October 15.
However, they have not given up hope, with Ryder adding that they are "actively engaged with potential partners and current partners" as they look to continue next season.
Despite missing Friday's deadline, the team will still be able to make the WorldTour for 2022. Last year they also missed the deadline but registered in November, having been saved by a sponsorship deal with clothing brand Assos.
"Today we are not in a position to submit our initial application for our UCI WorldTour licence for next year to the sport’s governing body," wrote Ryder in a statement issued by the team.
"We are actively engaged with potential partners, and our current partners, as we work to secure our future for 2022."
Back in August, the team were reportedly struggling to pay riders and staff as they waited for sponsors to transfer funding, while two weeks ago Cyclingnews learned that Qhubeka NextHash riders had been told they were free to seek alternative employment for next season – even if they were under contract with the team.
Earlier this week, multiple sources confirmed to Cyclingnews that the team had been negotiating with several possible sponsors. Directeur sportif Lars Michaelsen told Cyclingnews that "it's still a work in progress", adding that the team are "fighting with time" to get a deal done.
In his statement, Ryder hailed the team's support of African cycling, which saw a number of breakthroughs recently, with Eritrean Biniam Girmay taking silver at the World Championships U23 road race and Rwanda winning the hosting rights for the 2025 Worlds, adding that his team had, over the years, raised $6 million for title sponsor, Qhubeka.
"Across our Continental and World Team outfits we have staff and riders that champion our message – bicycles change lives – and enable us to be a platform to raise awareness and funds for the Qhubeka Charity," he wrote.
"We are completely unique across the sporting landscape as a purpose-led organisation that during the course of our decade-long partnership with Qhubeka has seen our team raise over $6m for the Charity, and in the process changed thousands of lives.
"We remain confident that our story is not complete, our journey will carry on, to continue to change lives through bicycles.
"I have always said that our dream for this team would be to see a young person from Africa, who starts their journey on a Qhubeka bike, one day race on cycling’s most famous road – the Champs-Elysées. That will see the dream fully realised."
Despite once again being in danger of stopping, the team has not yet suffered an exodus of riders as they had in 2020, with only Dmitri Claeys, Michael Gogl and Lasse Norman Hansen confirmed as moving elsewhere for 2022, while Fabio Aru and Matteo Pelucchi retire.
Major names such as climber Domenico Pozzovivo, former European champion Giacomo Nizzolo and World Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts stuck with the squad through the uncertainty late last year and have yet to be linked elsewhere this transfer window.
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.