Assos awaits Ryder’s desperate search for sponsors before committing to Qhubeka NextHash
Time is almost over for the future of Qhubeka NextHash with no news of a title sponsor saving the team as management frantically tries to keep the WorldTour entity together for 2022.
The UCI has extended the deadline for submitting applications until the end of the month in order to give manager Doug Ryder as much time as possible to find the necessary funds, and while the South African is back to the wall, he at least has the interim backing of Assos, with the clothing brand keen to add their financial backing if a suitable title partner is found.
Assos came to the team’s rescue in 2020 and invested millions in the team at the last minute to keep the operation afloat. The clothing brand was then replaced as the team’s secondary sponsor on the eve of the Tour de France with NextHash coming under an announced five-year plan.
No news has been released on whether the cryptocurrency company will be with the team next year, but the team struggled to pay runner and staff salaries over the summer. and Cycling news learned in the fall that several other small sponsors have been asked to submit their final payments earlier than expected in order to help the team’s finances.
The majority of the team’s biggest riders have all left for new teams, but Ryder would still be able to fill out a roster if a major sponsor was found in time.
Assos isn’t in a position to save the squad like they did in 2020, and they’ve had little communication with Ryder in recent weeks, but they want to see the squad come out of it. At this point, Assos would like to see the caliber of any potential title sponsor before committing their investment.
“The team is focused on finding funding partners. They ultimately need several million dollars to make it work, but we don’t know where they stand at the moment,” said a spokesperson for Assos. Cycling news.
“They’re desperately trying to put something together, but Assos will probably want to stay involved. We love the program, the affiliation and we’re partnering with Qhubeka anyway. We will do some things with them next year, which the team continue, because it’s a natural fit.
“We’re not committed, though, because we want to see what the team is and who the partners are, what the ambitions of the team are, and then we’ll see what happens and whether it makes sense to to associate with them or not.
“We’re holding back and waiting, but we’re hoping that this comes to fruition and that it’s something that we want to support. Right now it’s all speculative and we’re not going to commit until we know what it is. At the moment, there is no program and it is not clear that the team will exist.
“What matters to us is who the partner is, what their aspirations are and what they want to do. We will wait and see and then decide whether it is the right program for us to participate or not. back and wait and see. At the moment there is nothing to judge. “
Assos does not have a firm deadline for their potential support for the team, but they recognize that time is running out and that if Ryder is not able to solidify the future of the team from here. at the end of the calendar year, this could prove to be too late. There are logistics issues, from clothing to runners lists, as well as financial commitments related to other marketing campaigns.
“We have other things going on at the company that could influence our ability to be a part of this program,” the spokesperson said. Cycling news.
“There are other marketing initiatives that we are working on that could influence things but not necessarily. There is no set timeline. Obviously the longer it takes the harder it is, but we certainly don’t set deadlines on time. If it’s not the case. Don’t make it right by the end of this year, then you don’t have any riders, you don’t have any clothes made.
“There are problems practically. They are up to the wall for various reasons, but Assos is the least of their problems. We are a long term partner who wants to support the program as long as the program is healthy and meets our aspirations. . We’re here to help, not to set more deadlines. “
Cycling news has contacted Qhubeka NextHash several times but the team has not commented.
The UCI simply said Cycling news that: “The UCI World Tour license is still in progress, the UCI will communicate the list of selected teams by the end of December.”