2013 Tour Series champions UK Youth will fold at the end of 2013 unless they finds new sponsors for next year, it was announced today.
The team, who won an unprecedented nine out of 12 rounds of this year’s Tour Series, has been backed by 1992 Formula One world champion Nigel Mansell since its inception four years ago and bore the name of the long-standing children’s charity of which he is president.
However, attempts to find a title sponsor for 2014 have so far proved unsuccessful, and contributed to this morning’s announcement.
A statement from Mansell read:
“Team UK Youth was formed four years ago. Over this period the team has gone from strength to strength culminating in this season as the top UK team and Tour Series Champions.
“The Mansell family have been proud to solely sponsor the team over the past four years in the aim to obtain full sponsorship for the 2014 season; unfortunately this has been found to be impossible in the present financial climate.
“As a result we have convened numerous meetings this week to review the situation and possibilities and alternatives open to us. Unfortunately and sadly we have no alternative but to come to the difficult decision that unless a last minute headline sponsor can be found within the next few weeks then Team UK Youth will not be competing in the forthcoming 2014 season.
“Understandably an early decision has been paramount to enable the riders and support staff the opportunity in seeking a ride for the 2014 season and I wish them well.
“Finally I am personally so proud of the team’s dedication and achievements and would like to thank all of the team’s many supporters and other sponsors who have helped make this success possible.”
The team, Britain’s second-highest UCI-ranked squad behind Sky, triumphed at this year’s Ras (won by Marcin Bialoblocki) and the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic, in which Ian Wilkinson took the victory.