Rapha to end Rapha-Condor-JLT sponsorship after next year

London-based clothing brand says it's time to move on after almost a decade, but says 2014 will be year to remember

by Simon_MacMichael   December 5, 2013  

Halfords Tour Series Oxford Dean Downing (© Simon MacMichael)

Rapha has confirmed that it will be ending its sponsorship of the Rapha-Condor-JLT team at the end of the 2014 season.

The London-based cycle clothing brand, founded in 2004, has sponsored the team since it began as Rapha-Condor in 2006.

The announcement that it would no longer be backing the UCI Continental outfit after next season appears to have been prompted by reports earlier today that there was speculation over whether or not it would be sponsoring the team next year.

Rapha says that it has given the team, managed since 2008 by former British national champion John Herety, 16 months’ notice of the termination of its sponsorship, and has promised to boost its backing in 2014, including growing the roster to 14 riders.

Rapha co-founder and CEO Simon Mottram said: “Road racing and riding in the UK have been transformed since Rapha and Condor started our partnership in 2006.

“Who would have thought that we would have two Tour de France victories, gold medals and so many people riding regularly?

“Both Rapha and Condor have grown and developed in that time as well. Our eight years together have been really important to Rapha, helping us become established as a legitimate fixture of the UK racing scene.”

At the time it began sponsoring the team, no-one could have imagined that a few year’s later, a British rider for a British team would be wearing Rapha kit on his way to winning the Tour de France, as Chris Froome did this year, with Rapha having taken over as Team Sky's kit supplier from Adidas at the start of 2013.

A previous Rapha-Condor-JLT sponsor, Sharp, decided last year to move its sponsorship up to the highest level of the sport, sponsoring another UCI WorldTour team, Garmin-Sharp.

Speaking of the decision to end Rapha’s sponsorship, Mottram said: “After eight years the cycling market and our business have changed and we have decided that having a UCI registered Continental Racing team is not the best way for Rapha to contribute to the UK racing scene.

“We are exploring other ways in which Rapha can usefully invest in UK racing and further plans will be announced shortly.”

Nicknamed the Men In Black, the team’s riders include Kristian House, winner of the national road race championship in 2009 – the last rider from a non-WorldTour team to win the title – and Olympic team pursuit champion, Ed Clancy.

While they remain key members of the squad, the past couple of years has seen the team move focus less on experience – former national criterium champion Dean Downing, and three-time Olympic track medallist Chris Newton have also ridden for it – and more on youth as it looks to bring young riders through.

“Rapha have been an excellent sponsor for the team, as well as passionate supporters of our riders,” said Herety.

“We’ve enjoyed a lot of success in the distinctive black jerseys, and we will be working to take as many more wins as we can in 2014, before the team continues in a new guise into 2015.”

Grant Young of Condor Cycles, which like co-sponsor insurance firm JLT will continue to support the team until at least the end of the 2015 season, added: "It has been great working in partnership with Rapha over what will be nine years.

“The 'men in black' have achieved more success than Simon and I ever could have imagined when we started this project.

“It has been great to help and watch a brand that started with just three items grow and revolutionise cycle clothing.

"I am of course sad that Rapha have chosen to leave this partnership but understand that their commitments have evolved.”

Rapha meanwhile intend that their ninth and final year sponsoring the team will be one to remember, including special events to mark what it describes as “the end of an era.”

Mottram concluded: “We are happy to go out on a high, with 2014 being a year of celebration for Rapha, Condor, John Herety and all the riders and staff who have worked with us since 2006.”

14 user comments

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Sad to hear this news, they have been a fantastic team and brought on loads of talent along the way. Hopefully someone can step in as title sponsor

posted by sorebones [109 posts]
5th December 2013 - 20:26

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It says a lot about the value to a sponsor that both Sharp and Rapha spent some money, and then later found even more for a team higher up the scale. After all they must be considering the outlay and return like any marketing expenditure.

If anything it's indicative of good value, even sponsoring a wing mirror in F1 would cost more than a cycling team for a year!

The questions is which firm will work this out and now sponsor the team?

posted by GREGJONES [112 posts]
5th December 2013 - 22:27

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Having had a conversation with a businessman who has various sponsorships from F1 (in a minor way) through to cycling, he reckoned his best investment in terms of ££££ to publicity was women's cycling.

posted by VeloPeo [219 posts]
5th December 2013 - 22:33

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Having had a conversation with a businessman who has various sponsorships from F1 (in a minor way) through to cycling, he reckoned his best value investment in terms of ££££ to publicity was women's cycling.

posted by VeloPeo [219 posts]
5th December 2013 - 22:33

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Dont you worry... I predict a Rapha/Sky team for 2015 when the proposed league system kicks in....

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posted by bici1977 [32 posts]
6th December 2013 - 8:18

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This is a shame, a great team, hope they find other sponsors or JLT can up their stake.

posted by karlowen [65 posts]
6th December 2013 - 12:13

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bici1977 wrote:
Dont you worry... I predict a Rapha/Sky team for 2015 when the proposed league system kicks in....

Surely Sky's zero tolerance policy will see them drop their association with Rapha now they have Ullrich as a brand ambassador?

posted by farrell [1404 posts]
6th December 2013 - 12:56

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Probably wrong (I usually am), but last night I read on Twitter that Ulrich was self sponsoring. (He just chose to have his site designed in a Rapha-esque style and chose to wear Rapha's clobber in the pictures).

I don't know if anyone can confirm this.

Back to the main story. Good luck to Rapha - the advertising must have been a success as they've gone onto bigger things with Sky.

I hope the Condor-JLT do continue as they've been fun to watch.

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

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posted by badback [267 posts]
6th December 2013 - 13:32

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^badblack, you're right. See this article:

http://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/article/jan-ullrich-rapha-fan-photogr...

Seems that Big Jan posted photos of him wearing Rapha kit on his website and called Rapha 'his new partner'

Heaven forbid that journos should actually establish the facts behind a story before deciding to put 2 + 24 together to make 98 to actually write and publish a story.

A lesson for everyone, eh? So Tony, dont think Sky have need to ditch Rapha, do you?

Applause

posted by Sim1 [57 posts]
6th December 2013 - 13:41

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how could that be?nobody is very interested in women's cyclinging!!!!!

posted by seanboy [23 posts]
6th December 2013 - 17:31

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seanboy wrote:
how could that be?nobody is very interested in women's cyclinging!!!!!

Hmmm. Well I am for one.

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

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posted by badback [267 posts]
6th December 2013 - 18:23

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At the prices Rapha charge surely they could back both teams.
Hope they don't go the way of UK Youth after old Nige pulled the plug but it is a possibility!!!

Chadders x

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posted by chadders [73 posts]
10th December 2013 - 17:07

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Sim1 wrote:
^badblack, you're right. See this article:

http://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/article/jan-ullrich-rapha-fan-photogr...

Seems that Big Jan posted photos of him wearing Rapha kit on his website and called Rapha 'his new partner'

Heaven forbid that journos should actually establish the facts behind a story before deciding to put 2 + 24 together to make 98 to actually write and publish a story.

A lesson for everyone, eh? So Tony, dont think Sky have need to ditch Rapha, do you?

Applause

Who is Tony? And what journalists have commented on this?

Have you been jumping to conclusions of your own?

posted by Mr Turning [33 posts]
10th December 2013 - 18:09

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Mr Turning wrote:
Sim1 wrote:
Heaven forbid that journos should actually establish the facts behind a story before deciding to put 2 + 24 together to make 98 to actually write and publish a story.

A lesson for everyone, eh? So Tony, dont think Sky have need to ditch Rapha, do you?

Applause

Who is Tony? And what journalists have commented on this?

Have you been jumping to conclusions of your own?

I'm guessing it's a reference to the fact that a certain website (not this one) ran the Ullrich story straight - ie based on his comment on his website that he is Rapha's new partner, they published an article stating that as fact. It disappeared minutes later when they realised the little scamp was being tongue-in-cheek about it and is simply just another fan of the brand.

As for the Tony reference, to take another guess, someone is confusing the commenter Farrell above with our own editor, Tony Farrelly.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [8033 posts]
10th December 2013 - 18:24

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