Team Sky’s Transition Agreement

So, Sky TV have decided to pull their support for Team Sky from the end of 2019. This begs the question, what next for the flagship of professional British Cycling?  

I thought I’d blog on this subject as it’s been something I’ve thought about over the last few days and it’s been difficult for me to hold a real opinion on. As time has passed I’ve come to the conclusion that this is really unprecedented territory for us British Cycling fans. Are we about to head toward the door from the highest echelons of the European cycling scene? And if so, should there not be a referendum? 

When Dave Braisford set up Team Sky, when Sky backed his project with multiple millions of pounds, it was with the stated aim of getting a British rider onto the top step of the podium in Paris; winning the TdF. We all know that they have been incredibly successful in this. An indisputable fact. What is up for argument is whether this has been worth Skys investment? 

Now, I don’t pay for Sky TV, it seems extortionately expensive and to be frank, I never seem to sit down long enough to warrant the outlay. So to me, Sky is Team Sky. Sometimes it seems that Team Sky has transcended its namesake and forged its own identity and I’m not sure it’s one that reflects that well on Rupert’s baby. It appears as a goal orientated organisation, on the periphery of cycling, not really interested in what the rest of the European cycling scene has held dear; the prize is money and the money is made during La Grande Boucle in July. The total lack of any real interest from Team Sky to ingratiate themselves with the wider cycling community can be seen on the roads of France in July, usually covered in pee pee. 

So, as a way of developing professional British cycling Sky’s backing has been great. Job done. But I cannot see the current incarnation of Braisfords team to be that enticing to other sponsors. There’s too much baggage now (specifically Jiffy bags). 

Has Team Sky progressed into a mature cycling team or, like US Postal, will it go out as quickly as it burst onto the scene?  

Lets look at another model for a cycling team. The current Movistar team is on its 10th facelift, starting in 1980 as Reynolds, probably reaching its peak as Benesto in the 1990’s. Team Sky can learn from their longevity if they want to, in the same way that the rest of cycling has learnt from Team Sky’s dedication to performance. 

So, in a nutshell, I fear that without a bit of refocusing on a goal that the British Cycling public can get behind, while also trying to integrate into the folklore of cycling, we may just find ourselves on the periphery of Europe, with no say in the future of our fabulous, beautiful, exotic and unparalleled sport. 

Simon SmithComment