Freeman Cebu Sports

Team Sky’s Demise

EVERY POUND COUNTS - Alan G. Choachuy - The Freeman

When SKY joined the professional peloton in 2010, its main objective was to win a Tour de France in 5 years with a British team and a British champion. Sky overachieved instead, winning the its first of six Tours in 2012 with Sir Bradley Wiggins, then the next four with Chris Froome and this year with Geraint Thomas.


Who is SKY? Sky is a media and telecommunications conglomerate based in London and just recently owned by Rupert Murdoch. It was Rupert’s son, James, who became interested in road cycling, after successfully financing the British Cycling during the 2008 Olympics. Headed by David Brailsford, a former performance director of BC, he took SKY to heights his contemporaries could only dreamed of. He also has an MBA from Sheffield Hallam University. Brailsford was the person who coined the term, “marginal gains”  based one this principle - “The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together”.

With a backer that had very deep pockets, SKY had an annual budget of 35M Euros, almost doubling the budget of its rival teams. With that much money available to the team, they could afford the best materials, best coaching, best logistics and of course the best riders. In fact, they just recently signed two Colombian riders to multi-year deals who are reasonably capable of winning the Tour in the next 2-3 years.

From 2010 to 2018, SKY dominated cyclin in every aspect, good or bad. In fact it was estimated that its media exposure amounted to 350M Euros!

Then two years and one day ago, SKY the company, was taken over by COMCAST. With a new leadership who clearly didn’t like to spend 35M for cycling, pulled the plug on team SKY.

While I can say that nobody is as brilliant as a cycling manager as Dave Brailsford today, he needs to find a new sponsor until June. After that, riders are usually free to sign with another team. Finding that somebody to throw Dave a 35M lifeline is an almost impossible task but if there is someone who can do it, it’s Dave. Other options would include a smaller budget team and of course, retirement.

Most of SKY’s rider have higher salaries than there contemporaries so if they find themselves in other teams I would assume that they would get less for the value SKY tagged them with.

While SKY may not be the perfect team, it became the tree with the most fruits and I’d say it that some teams, especially the French, won’t be exactly ruing their demise. Remember that the French has not won the Tour since 1985 and usually it is an English-speaking rider who’s in the way. Nineteen winners in the past 38 years are English speakers and the French badly want to have their own winner in their own race.

It would be a nail-biting six months for the team SKY hoping that Dave will save the day.


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