“The darkest day in British cycling”
Former riders for the now-defunct AT85 Pro Cycling team have said the UK racing scene will be far worse off without the long-serving squad.
After “funding problems” and “an increasingly insecure banking and financial sector” the team collapsed, leaving several drivers and staff unemployed.
Saint Piran driver Alex Richardson, who drove for AT85 under his former name Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes, narrated cycling weekly that Tim Elverson’s team “provides a platform for people who otherwise might not have had”.
“It’s not good for local cycling and supplying good riders, it’s brought a lot of success out of this team,” Richardson said. “There is a lot of success and joy in it. They gave young drivers, or even some of the older ones, the experience to progress.”
“You’ve given people a platform that they might not otherwise have had. They basically give people opportunities, which is a really nice thing.”
Riding for Elverson’s team allowed Richardson to rise to ProTeam level with Alpecin-Fenix, for which he was very grateful and that Elverson’s team was a ‘level above’ others in the UK at the time.
“I admire Tim very much. He has tremendously helped me to succeed and consequently find a tremendous amount of complacency and learning in the sport,” Richardson added. “So much of it is thanks to him.”
Matt Bostock, who became British Male Circuit Champion last year while driving for WiV SunGod, said Elverson’s squad proved pivotal in his rise to the ProTeam ranks with Bolton Equities Black Spoke for 2023.
“It’s just terrible for the boys now that it’s mid-season. I’m disappointed in the drivers and the team,” said Bostock. “I lacked confidence when I came to Tim and he was really important as he helped me race and be more confident.”
“I had a successful year last year winning this national title. It was obviously special for me, but it was also special for Tim and the team,” he added. “It’s really quite sad. I could have easily found myself in that situation, so I’m grateful for everything I got out of it all.”
Saint Piran, one of the two remaining British UCI Continental squads, confirmed this cw that they had been in talks with AT85 DS Colin Sturgess to help find spots for some AT85 drivers.
In a statement from the Cornwall-based team released this afternoon, team owner Richard Pascoe said that “sponsorship and well-funded partnerships” are “waning” at the British circuit.
“AT85 Pro Cycling and its previous incarnations have set the standard for others in professional cycling so this news is a sad day in the UK cycling scene,” said Pascoe. “Colin and Tim have helped change the UK cycling scene and I hope they will continue to do so. Professional cycling is a small family. A change like this is terrible for the team, its drivers and staff – we feel very strongly about their situation.”
“Building professional cycling on a solid foundation of sustainable funding and support is critical for the future.”
Former elite British racer-turned-podcast host Tommy Bustard called the loss of the AT85 “the darkest day in British cycling”.
Bustard, a close friend of AT85 driver Rob Scott, narrated Cycling weekly: “Rob Scott won seven races last year. He had 15 podiums and should have driven ProConti if not WorldTour.”
He added: “It’s almost the end. There are still two teams left.”