News: IAM Cycling, the only Swiss team in the WorldTour, has announced that it will be leaving the peloton at the end of 2016 due to difficulties in finding a co-sponsor.
They are the second WorldTour team to announce their withdrawal from the sport, following Tinkoff’s announcement in late 2015 that it would be folding at the end of the season.
Team founder Michel Thétaz informed riders and staff of the decision on Monday, before an official press release was made public.
— ✚ Team IAM Cycling (@IAM_Cycling) May 23, 2016
In the statement, Thétaz explains the reasons for their decision: “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.”
There had been earlier speculation of a possible merger with BMC, however it was clarified in a press release that IAM Cycling will not be considering the possibility of a merger nor returning to the Professional Continental level at which it competed in 2013 and 2014. According to team founder Michel Thétaz, there was no alternative option other than to leave the professional peloton: “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.”
Since joining the WorldTour ranks in 2015, the team has struggled somewhat to produce the results it had hoped for. It is ranked 14th out of 18 teams in the WorldTour standings, and has notched up 5 victories this year, though none at Worldtour level, including Jérome Coppel’s overall and stage win at Etoile de Bessèges, Dries Devenyns’ victory at the Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise, Sondre Holst Enger’s stage win at the Tour of Croatia and Leigh Howard’s overall victory at the Clasica de Almeria.
The announcement now leaves 28 riders and several more team staff on the search for a new team for next year’s season, and the end of the road for the Swiss team will likely create place for another team to join the WorldTour ranks.