JLT Condor has announced that it will cease racing at the end of this season. The news comes little more than a fortnight after fellow British UCI Continental team One Pro Cycling said that it would not be running a men’s team next season.
Founded in 2007 as Rapha-Condor-recycling.co.uk and with former British national champion John Herety coming on board as manager in 2009, the team quickly established itself as the leading outfit on the domestic scene and also raced internationally, including in Europe and Asia.
Insurance broker JLT began co-sponsoring the team in 2013, and when clothing firm Rapha announced the following year that it would be focusing on its sponsorship at the time of Team Sky instead, the team was renamed JLT-Condor for 2015 under a three-year deal that is now ending.
Grant Young, managing director of Condor Cycles, said. “This past decade of supporting the team has made me extremely proud.
“I’ve seen Condor bicycles ridden to National Championship victories, to wins in Australia, Japan, France, Spain and South Korea, to name but a few.
“There have been highs, lows, and many medals. We have all enjoyed working alongside JLT, a business of enthusiastic people keen to learn more about the sport, many of whom are cyclists.
“Up to now, we have been unable to find a partner to fill the position of JLT, but we will continue to search for one.
“Condor will continue to support cycle sport in Britain, as we have done since my father started the brand in 1948.”
Nick Williams-Walker, JLT Specialty’s chief operating officer, commented: “We are proud to have been sponsors of JLT Condor over the last six years and to have shared in the team’s many achievements during that time.
“We would like to thank all of the riders for their dedication and hard work over the years, and in particular their manager, John Herety, who has played such an important role in the development of the careers of so many young cyclists. We wish them all every success in the future.”
The company will continue to sponsor Ed Clancy, who is aiming to win a fourth successive team pursuit gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in two years’ time.
For all the success being enjoyed on the road by top British cyclists, news of JLT Condor’s demise leaves Great Britain with only one team in the top two tiers of the sport – Team Sky – and four now in the third tier, Canyon-Eisberg, Madison-Genesis, Wiggins and Vitus.
When One Pro Cycling founder, the former England wicket-keeper Matt Prior, announced at the start of this month that the men’s team was being disbanded to focus on women’s cycling instead, he said that it was impossible for teams operating below UCI WorldTour level to secure sustainable sponsorship.
“The amount of races in the UK is declining and everyone is looking for new sponsors,” he said. “It’s not in a healthy place at all.
“We literally have to pay a fortune just to take part. Obviously everyone knows we lost a key sponsor and had to drop back down to Conti level.
“But you’re still asking companies for huge sums of money just to sponsor a Conti team,” he added.
“With Brexit and Trump and all the financial uncertainty at the moment – and when you think about all the history of men’s cycling [a reference to doping] – it is difficult to ask.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.