Team Sky closing in on new European main sponsor

The cycling industry view that Team Sky is too good to go without a new main sponsor appears to have been confirmed by one of Team Sky’s sports directors.

The future of Team Sky has been uncertain since the pay-TV broadcaster announced in December it would roll back its financial support for the team after this season.

Last week, Team Sky sports director Matteo Tosatto told the Spanish sports daily Marca that the team should have an agreement in place by May’s Giro D’Italia.

“Before the Giro starts, we’ll have an agreement almost completely secured for the continuity of the team,” he said.

Tosatto said the new main sponsor would be a European entity.

One name in the frame is Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the chairman and chief executive of the Ineos chemicals group, who has a net worth of £21bn (€24.4bn/€27.6bn).

According to the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, the industrialist is said to be among a number of interested parties to have met team principal Sir Dave Brailsford.

As reported in last month’s SportBusiness Sponsorship, cycling insiders believe the a new financial supporter for the team is only a matter of time

Juan Pablo Molinero, the chief marketing officer of rival Team Movistar, said: “My common sense and my business sense says that for sure they will have a sponsor.

“Dave Brailsford is a very smart guy and knows how to do business – it’s just a question of timing and adjusting all the pieces of the puzzle.”

Brailsford has said he would give himself a deadline of July, by the Tour de France, to secure a sponsor.