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Sky to end sponsorship of Team Sky

media Geraint Thomas, victor of the 2018 Tour de France, was the third British rider from Team Skyto claim cycling's most prestigious prize. Marco Bertorello/Pool via REUTERS

The British broadcaster Sky on Wednesday announced it will end its sponsorship of the cycle racing squad Team Sky.

Riders from the group have won six of the past seven Tour de France races and have added two of the other 'Grand Tour' events - the Giro d'Italia and La Vuelta - to the trophy cabinet since the team's inception in 2008.

"The vision for Team Sky began with the ambition to build a clean, winning team around a core of British riders and staff," said team principal Dave Brailsford. "We are proud of the part we have played in Britain's transformation into a cycling nation over the last decade.

"While Sky will be moving on at the end of next year, the team is open-minded about the future and the potential of working with a new partner, should the right opportunity present itself."

On its establishment, Team Sky's ambition to furnish a first British champion of the Tour de France appeared to be braggadocio. Bradley Wiggins realised the dream in 2012.

Chris Froome became the second Briton to win the course in 2013. And his dominance of the race since 2015 was relinquished when a third Briton - TEam Sky stablemate Geraint Thomas added the 2018 crown to the outfit's list of achievements.

Victory tainted by controversy

But controversy has tainted the patriots' gains. A report in March 2018 to a panel of British MPs criticised Team Sky's deployment of therapeutic use exemptions.

The Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee said the team crossed an ethical line by using the loophole to administer drugs to enhance performance.

MPs said they believed that triamcinolone - a synthetic drug prescribed to treat asthma - was being used to prepare Wiggins and possibly other riders supporting him, for the Tour de France.

"The purpose of this was not to treat medical need but to improve his power-to-weight ratio ahead of the race," their report added.

"We came into cycling with the aim of using elite success to inspire greater participation at all levels," said Jeremy Darroch, Sky's group chief executive.

"After more than a decade of involvement, I couldn't be prouder of what we've achieved with Team Sky and our long-standing partners at British Cycling."


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