B&B Hotels-KTM, the team reportedly poised to sign Mark Cavendish, has now collapsed after a last-ditch attempt to secure sponsorship from the team’s management.
After weeks of speculation, French newspaper Le Telegramme confirmed the complete disbandment of the team(opens in a new tab). The hour-long conference call finally admitted that he will not be able to manage his team in 2023 due to lack of sponsorship funds.
“We tried our best to save our club, but unfortunately we were unsuccessful,” he wrote in a message to the team’s WhatsApp group on Tuesday night, announcing the final video call.
The final word on the team’s demise saga has some big-name drivers, as well as other reported new signings, scrambling to find a new team, including Mark Cavendish.
In recent months, Pinault has repeatedly expressed to the media that he hopes to sign Cavendish. However, with the team now unlikely to continue even at the Continental level, that’s out of the question right now.
In addition to signing Cavendish, Pineau plans to sign star riders, including Audrey Cordon-Ragot, to the planned women’s team, but that’s not going to happen either.
Earlier this summer, French ex-pro Pinault laid out big plans for the future of his team, with the city of Paris and supermarket giant Carrefour rumored to be backing a project that not only develops the men’s second division but also creates A women’s team and a development team were formed.
Both potential deals would then go nowhere, with Pinault having to scramble to raise additional funds to keep the team afloat until the end of November.
According to Cyclingnews (opens in a new tab), Pinault had hoped to keep the team at Continental level, but his planned sponsors were no longer interested as status would have ruled out a wildcard invitation to the Tour de France. Pinot reportedly informed his drivers and team staff of the disbandment via video call early Wednesday morning, while he had warned them the night before via a WhatsApp message.
“We tell you that Seb and I tried our best to save our club, but unfortunately we didn’t succeed,” Pino wrote on Tuesday, referring to his brother Sebastian, who was also involved. management of the team.
“We’re not going to give up like this, but there will be no miracles. We are currently desperately trying to save what can be saved and find a backup solution for each of you.”
With the team’s sudden collapse, there are now 20 drivers without a team for next year, including star Frenchman Pierre Rolland.
This morning, L’Equipe linked Rolland with the TotalEnergies team (opens in a new tab), although Rolland quickly closed the situation down on Twitter, saying his future plans would be confirmed by him directly via social media.
Five drivers, including Cavendish, have reportedly agreed to join the men’s team from other teams. They are Max Richeze, Nick Schultz, Cees Bol and former Bahrain Victorious rider Stephen Williams.
With the transfer window starting to close and teams finalizing their final squad for 2023, it remains to be seen whether Mark Cavendish will have a new team in 2023, which could give him A chance to break the all-time record for a Tour de France stage win.
Cavendish is currently tied with five-time tour winner Eddie Murks on 34 victories.