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This story first appeared on VeloNews.com.
Jérôme Pineau’s B&B Hotels-KTM team will not race in 2023 after potential sponsors fell through last month.
According to French publication Le Telegramme, Pineau held a two-hour video conference with the team to say that it would shut up shop at the end of this season. Reports earlier this week said that Pineau had hoped to keep the men’s and women’s team afloat at Continental level, but efforts to salvage the squad seem to have been in vain.
Originally named Vital Concept Cycling Team, the squad has raced since 2018 under the management of former rider Pineau.
Pineau had hoped to see his budget rise to around 20 million Euros for next season, with Manx sprinter Mark Cavendish linked with a move to the team as well the creation of a new women’s team. Brands such as Carrefour and Amazon France were reported to be interested in backing the team.
Rumors of trouble started in early October when the team was missing from the UCI’s list of applicants for ProTeam licenses. Meanwhile, a press conference was pulled just days before it was planned to take place.
Pineau later revealed that he was still “waiting for answers” from a number of potential sponsors by the end of November. However, he did not get the answers that he wanted and he told the riders in a video call Friday that they were free to sign elsewhere.
It leaves a large number of riders searching for a new contract with less than a month until the new season kicks off. Some riders, such as Ramon Sinkeldam and Victor Koretzky, have already been snapped up, but there are many more hoping to save their careers.
On the men’s side, Cavendish is the biggest name that had been connected with the team that is now searching for a new home. Nick Shultz and Cees Bol were also linked with the squad, while current riders such as Pierre Rolland and Jens Debuschere are now also on the hunt for a new contract.
Australian sprinter Chloe Hosking confirmed on social media Wednesday that she was one of the members of the new women’s team that was now searching for a squad.
“I am one of the riders impacted by the saga that is the collapse of the B&B Hotels team,” she wrote on Twitter. “To say I am caught up the creek without a paddle is an understatement. Looking for opportunities for 2023.”
Audrey Cordon-Ragot and Olympic champion Anna Kiesenhofer are also both linked with the team.