Dave Brailsford now faces the biggest challenge of his management career after Sky’s exit

Comment: The Team Sky boss will have limited time to find a sponsor and keep his best riders

The news that BSkyB will end its sponsorship of the British team at the end of 2019 means Sir Dave Brailsford now faces the biggest challenge of his management career. Blessed with a supportive sponsor since 2009 he has been able to concentrate on building his team and developing riders since their debut season in 2010. The success that has followed is in no small part down to that focus brought on by the financial stability.

Brailsford’s strength, both at British Cycling and Team Sky has been building a team around the riders, and putting their needs and performance at the centre of all they do. Blessed with big budgets at both organisations he has nonetheless spent his money wisely and built structures that have produced incredible results.

Now that unwavering support has gone he enters uncharted waters and will have to rapidly change his focus, and hope his riders and staff keep theirs.


More on this story:

 – Team Sky’s open letter to fans as main backer announces sponsorship will end
 – Chris Froome: ‘This is a special team – we plan to be together in 2020’


All his focus will now have to go into finding a new headline sponsor, and to match the wages he pays out, he will hope it’s one with pockets as deep as Sky’s.

This is not a new situation in cycling. Other team managers go through this on a semi-regular basis as sponsors come and go. The constant calls for a new funding structure for the sport comes from the fact that the source of most team’s budgets is so volatile.

Team Sky at the 2018 Tour de France (Sunada)

All WorldTour team managers will have been in this situation at least once before.

Brailsford however has been protected by this largely through his relationship with Sky’s former chairman, James Murdoch. The pair had grown close over the years to the point where they would sit in Murdoch’s office and pore over the details on the CQ-Ranking website as they looked for new signings and discussed team building.

Murdoch famously loaned Brailsford his private jet to fly out to the 2011 Vuelta to hurriedly re-sign Chris Froome as his new star gave the world the first glimpse of what he was capable of at that Grand Tour.

With Murdoch in place, Brailsford effectively had a blank cheque book at his disposal. In the team’s formative years many who left were never sacked, simply told they weren’t needed any more and paid up to the end of their contract while a replacement was found and employed.

That sort of funding makes building a team a little easier.

Murdoch resigned from the board of Sky PLC in October after the company was taken over by Comcast. It’s likely his exit had a significant bearing on the company’s decision to end their funding.

With the announcement coming early on Wednesday morning, the clock has already started ticking in the search for a new sponsor.

Dave Brailsford.

Brailsford realistically has until the end of June to find a new backer so he can retain his current riders. Their agents will have to start talking to other teams in July if nothing is arranged by then.

Conversations with prospective sponsors are ongoing behind the scenes, especially for a team’s second and third tier sponsors that regularly come and go. But such was the surprise of Sky’s announcement it’s likely Brailsford will have to start from scratch this time.

That’s six and a half months to find a replacement for the sport’s richest sponsor. Six and a half months when, in the UK at least, big business has all but stopped it’s own internal investment (let alone new marketing spend) as they wait to see what happens with Brexit.

With the UK’s ruling Conservative party in disarray over Brexit the fear is that the political turmoil will run right up until the 11pm on March 29 when the UK is set to leave the EU. This means most businesses are sitting tight and waiting to see what their future looks like before making any big decisions. Many are putting money aside in case they have to work through a disastrous no-deal scenario

While conversations could still take place in this period, the timetable threatens to leave Brailsford with just three months to find a replacement.

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Mid-Season Update on The Northwest Conference

Photo Courtesy: Ann Wigger

By McKenna Ehrmantraut, Swimming World College Intern. 

The college swimming season is in full swing with many pre-holiday invitationals starting to give a glimpse at conference lineups in February. The Northwest Conference – consisting of Whitworth, Pacific Lutheran, Whitman College, Linfield College, University of Puget Sound, Pacific University, Lewis and Clark, Willamette and new member George Fox – are heading into the new year with familiar faces and a few new surprises leading the pack.

On the women’s side, the University of Puget Sound (Tacoma) and Pacific Lutheran (Tacoma) are both undefeated in conference competition. Both teams have deep talent in multiple events and look strong going into the new year. Don’t count Whitman (Walla Walla) or Whitworth (Spokane) out of contention as the season progresses: all four teams have carried over strong programs from last year.

Photo Courtesy: Sarah Ehrmantraut

The University of Puget Sound holds the top relay times in the 400 free, 800 free and 200 medley, led by veterans Kelli Callahan, Calista Skog, Aza Verhoeven and Kai Haven. Whitworth snags the 200 free and 400 medley relay titles fueled by individual leaderboard 100 and 200 backstroker Hannah Galbraith

Freestyle sprinters Tahni Kakazu (Linfield) and Skog led the 50 and 100 free respectively, and standout Callahan held on to the 200 free top spot along with her dominate 200 and 400 IM. Evette Dow (Linfield) took the 500 and 1,000 free events and held on to a close second in the 1,650 – less than a second behind Taylor Bingea (Pacific Lutheran). 

Photo Courtesy: Sarah Ehrmantraut

Jamie Siegler (Whitworth) is dominates the breaststroke category, taking first in the 100 and second in the 200 just behind teammate Miranda Williams. Kaycee Simpson (Pacific Lutheran) rounds out the top spots for the women with the fastest times in the 100 and 200 fly. 

The Whitworth and Pacific Lutheran men are tied with undefeated conference dual meet records midseason, with Pacific Lutheran holding the top relay time in the 200 free and Whitworth cleaning up with the 400 free, 800 free, 200 and 400 medley top times.

The men’s sprint freestyles will be close as the season progresses with Trevor Gourley (Linfield), Owen Lempert (Whitworth) and newcomer Matthew Cole (Puget Sound) battling for the top three spots. Ryan Grady (Whitworth) dominates the men in the 200, 500, 1,000 and 1,650 free events. Puget Sound’s Brett Kolb and Dylan Reimers hope to stop Grady as the season progresses.

Photo Courtesy: Ann Wigger

Bryan Rossmiller (Whitworth) tops the men’s backstroke events with Daisuke Fitial (Linfield) just .18 behind. Gourley took the top spot in the 100 breast, and freestyler Grady took the top 200 spot.

Fitial of Linfield snagged the 100 fly top spot with Logan Todd (Whitworth) taking over the 200 breast lead. Fitial also stole the show in the 200 IM, while Grady surged to the top in the 400 IM.

The PNW swimmers will be finishing up classes this week and start preparing for training trips in early January. The teams will meet again at the PNW Conference meet at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wa. from February 7 to 10, 2019.

To keep up-to-date on top times and conference news visit the NWC Swimming website

To see how the conference has matched the seasons predictions, check out A Sneak Peak of the 2018-19 Northwest Conference Season.

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Denison Keeps Top Spots in CSCAA Division III Poll

Photo Courtesy: Hayley Good

December 12, 2018 – The College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) have released their third TYR Top 25 Dual Meet Swimming and Diving Poll of the 2018-19 season.  The Denison men and women claimed the number one spot for the second poll in a row.

On the women’s side, Kenyon, Emory, NYU, and Johns Hopkins round out the top five spots. On the men’s side Kenyon, Emory, Johns Hopkins, and WashU complete the top five.  In total, twenty-eight men’s and thirty-three women’s teams earned votes.

The poll aims to measure the top teams in head-to-head competition.

The rankings are voted on by CSCAA-member coaches and the next polls are scheduled for release on January 30 and February 27.

Women’s Rankings (Previous Rank)

  1. Denison (1)
  2. Kenyon (3)
  3. Emory (2)
  4. NYU (6)
  5. Johns Hopkins (4)
  6. Williams (5)
  7. MIT (8)
  8. WashU (9)
  9. Chicago (7)
  10. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (12)
  11. Tufts (17)
  12. Pomona-Pitzer (14)
  13. SUNY Geneseo (13)
  14. Washington & Lee (11)
  15. Carnegie Mellon (15)
  16. Case Western Reserve (20)
  17. Amherst (10)
  18. Ursinus (18)
  19. Calvin (19)
  20. Saint Catherine’s (25)
  21. Rowan (22)
  22. Trinity (TX) (23)
  23. Bowdoin (21)
  24. Saint Thomas (16)
  25. Bates (24)

Also receiving votes: RIT, Albion, Rhodes, RPI, Franklin, Birmingham Southern, WPI

Men’s Rankings (Previous Rank)

  1. Denison (1)
  2. Kenyon (4)
  3. Emory (2)
  4. Johns Hopkins (3)
  5. WashU (5)
  6. MIT (5)
  7. Chicago (8)
  8. Carnegie Mellon (9)
  9. NYU (7)
  10. Pomona-Pitzer (10)
  11. Calvin (15)
  12. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (12)
  13. Rowan (17)
  14. Amherst (20)
  15. UW-Stevens Point (24)
  16. Coast Guard (16)
  17. Case Western Reserve (13)
  18. WPI (NR)
  19. Williams (18)
  20. Stevens (19)
  21. Birmingham Southern (NR)
  22. Tufts (11)
  23. Trinity (TX) (NR)
  24. Swarthmore (14)
  25. Wabash (23)

Also receiving votes: Gettysburg, John Carroll, Carthage

For Regional Rankings click here.

The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with the College Swim Coaches Association of America (CSCAA). For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact Advertising@SwimmingWorld.com.

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Vuelta a España to start in the Netherlands in 2020

The race organisers have revealed the first three stages will take place in northern Europe

The 2020 edition of the Vuelta a España will kick off with three stages in the Netherlands, the organisers have revealed.

Utrecht in the central region will host the official start of the race, a team time trial, followed by two road stages.

This will only be the fourth time the Vuelta has started outside of Spain, and the second Netherlands start after Assen in 2009.

The race also started in Lisbon, Portugal in 1987 and Nîmes, France last year.

>>> Vuelta a España 2019 route: Two time trials and nine possible summit finishes in 74th edition 

Utrecht will host the opening day of racing, with a team presentation and team time trial.

Stage two will start in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and end in Utrecht during the final Grand Tour of the year.

The third day of racing which will cover the province of Noord-Braband, starting and finishing in Breda.

Vuelta director Javier Guillén told the mayor of Utrecht Jan Van Zanen of the decision to take the race to the Netherlands on Monday.

The pair announced the news on Wednesday.

A statement from the race organisers said: “The Vuelta Director, Javier Guillén, is looking forward to the ‘Salida Oficial’ in the Netherlands.

“There is a great passion for cycling in both Utrecht and Noord-Brabant. Both provinces have experience in hosting (major) cycling events.

“In addition, the cultural-historical ties between Spain and the Netherlands and the topic of sustainability are to serve as the central theme.

“This was one of the major criteria influencing the management’s decision to award the start of La Vuelta 2020 to Utrecht and North Brabant.”

>>> Tour de France 2019 route revealed: Five summit finishes to celebrate 100th anniversary of the yellow jersey

Details of the 2019 Vuelta route have also slowly been emerging ahead of the official launch.

Next year’s race will feature two time trials and up to nine summit finishes, the race director has told Cycling Weekly.  

Vuelta director Javier Guillén outlined some details and others are surfacing via local media in Spain.

The 2019 Vuelta would start on the Costa Blanca shore’s in Alicante.

The province will host three stages, with the first – a time trial – starting in Torrevieja.

The full 2019 Vuelta route is due to be revealed on December 19.

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2018 FINA Short Course World Championships: Day 2 Finals Live Recap

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The FINA World Swimming Championships continues today in Hangzhou, China after a fast first night of finals that featured two new world records in the men’s 200 butterfly and the men’s 4×100 free relay.

Here is what is on tap for the second day of finals:

LIVE RESULTS

Order of Events

  • Women’s 4×50 Medley Relay
  • Men’s 100 Backstroke
  • Women’s 200 Butterfly
  • Men’s 100 Breaststroke
  • Women’s 50 Breaststroke
  • Men’s 200 Freestyle
  • Women’s 100 Freestyle (semi-final)
  • Men’s 100 Butterfly (semi-final)
  • Women’s 100 Backstroke
  • Mixed 4×50 Freestyle Relay

Women’s 4×50 Medley Relay

The United States team of Olivia Smoliga (25.97), Katie Meili (29.29), Kelsi Dahlia (24.02), and Mallory Comerford (23.10) wasted no time in the first event of day two, racing their way to a dominant world record win in 1:42.38. That smashed the previous world record held by the United States by almost a full second. Each American had the fastest splits of the field for their respective relay leg.

Home team China was second (1:44.31) followed by the Netherlands in third (1:44.57). The Dutch used a strong second 100 from Ranomi Kromowidjojo (24.21) from Femke Heemskerk (23.17) to move up to the bronze medal position and pass Japan over the last leg.

Photo Courtesy:

Men’s 100 Backstroke

Women’s 200 Butterfly

Men’s 100 Breaststroke

Women’s 50 Breaststroke

Men’s 200 Freestyle

Women’s 100 Freestyle Semi-Finals

Men’s 100 Butterfly Semi-Finals

Women’s 100 Backstroke

Mixed 4×50 Freestyle Relay

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‘David Brailsford could have a sponsor up his sleeve, but riders will need to know by May’

Rider agent Johnny Carera says that the Team Sky riders will need to know as soon as possible if their futures at the team are secure

David Brailsford could have new sponsor ready to replace out-going Sky, but the riders need to know soon, says agent Johnny Carera.

The team announced this morning that at the end of the 2019 season the telecommunications company would end its sponsorship.

>>> Team Sky’s open letter to fans as main backer announces sponsorship will end

“I think that David Brailsford has something up his sleeve giving he signed riders for 2020 and 2021,” Carera told Cycling Weekly.

“I don’t think he’d just do that, I think he has an alternative, a sponsor in his pocket. Otherwise, you have to pay those contracts. So, someone has some idea and a plan.”

This October, Sky re-signed Egan Bernal on a five-year deal through 2023. It renewed 2018 Tour de France victor Geraint Thomas through 2021.

Last year, it renewed four-time Tour winner Chris Froome through 2020.

Froome is earning an estimated £4 million a year. Thomas’s contract could be worth £3.5 million.

Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal are all on long-term contracts at Sky (Sunada)

Cycling Weekly understands however that Brailsford was only informed of the sponsor pull two weeks ago, but the team have already been in contact with potential new sponsors.

If Brailsford finds a new backer to continue the team, currently operating on a budget of £34 million, then that company would pay those existing contracts in 2020 and beyond. If the team ceases to exist under new sponsorship, the management company would be responsible to pay for the remaining years in the riders’ contracts.

Brailsford and his staff face a race against time. They have around five months to announce a deal.

“It’s not a great news for the world of cycling that Sky is leaving the sport,” Carera continued.

“You have to understand how much time Brailsford is giving to the riders to find a new sponsor. Normally you give them until May, if they don’t find a new sponsor for 2020 then the riders are free to look around.

“We are talking about star riders, they can’t all just go find teams immediately and earn the same amount of money.

“You can’t wait until September if you are Chris Froome or Geraint Thomas, you need to already find a team. And teams need to start to look for that budget around May if they are going to bring on a big star rider. That’s an important amount of money, so you can’t wait for months.



“By May he should give the riders an idea because then the contract dealing starts already at the Giro d’Italia.”

Carera likened the situation to BMC, which announced it would stop backing its team at the end of 2019 after 12 years. BMC Racing Team boss Jim Ochowicz asked the riders to wait while he looked for a new deal.

Eventually, those without 2019 contracts became nervous and signed new deals. Richie Porte is joining Trek-Segafredo, Damiano Caruso and Rohan Dennis leave for Bahrain-Merida. Ochowicz only announced a new deal with CCC in July at the Tour de France, but was able to keep star rider Greg Van Avermaet.

“You have to consider that staff and riders working, it’s their job and future, they have families to support. The longer they wait, the harder it is to find that money,” Carera said.

“I hope that Sky finds a new sponsor, it’s a great team project and should continue.”

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Team Sky’s open letter to fans as main backer announces sponsorship will end

‘We want to close the Team Sky story with the strongest possible finish’

Team Sky has published an open letter thanking fans after their main backer announced it would be pulling out at the end of 2019.

Next year will be Team Sky’s final year under its current name, as parent company Sky announced on Wednesday it would end its ownership of the team.

Teams bosses are hoping a new backer can be found in the coming year, allowing the team to continue under a new name.

The letter from Team Sky, published on Wednesday morning shortly after they announced the news, said: “This news will no doubt come as a surprise to many people but, as you may know, there has been a lot of change at Sky recently.

“It is the start of a new chapter for the company and sometimes it is inevitable that change brings further change with that.

“That is what happened here.

“First things first, nothing changes for next year. Sky are fully committed to the end of 2019 and together we have ambitious goals for the season.

“We all want to close the Team Sky story with the strongest possible finish.

“We are more motivated as a team than we have ever been.”

>>> UCI confirms all WorldTour and Pro Continental teams for 2019

Team Sky took to the road in 2010 with the clear goal of putting the first Brit on the top step of the Tour de France.

It was two years before Sir Bradley Wiggins realised that dream.

The leadership was taken over by Chris Froome, who continues to dominate Grand Tours, most recently winning a fourth Tour in 2017, followed by the Vuelta a España last year and the Giro d’Italia in 2018.

Geraint Thomas is the latest Team Sky success story when he became the first Welshman to win the Tour this year.

Team Sky added: “In terms of the future, we are open minded. If we can find a new long-term partner to take the Team forward into a new era, then we will do so.

“And we will be doing everything we can to make that happen over the coming weeks and months.

“Equally, any future partner would have to be the right partner – one who shares our ethos and buys in to our values.

“This news has only just been announced; we can’t predict what will happen from 2020 and there are no guarantees.

“Whatever happens, we will make sure there is clarity one way or the other about the future of the Team before the Tour de France next July.

“Finally, a big thank you to all of our fans. You are, and have always been, the people who are the most important to us and who matter the most. It has been our privilege to race for you. We are proud to have written our pages in the history books and created memories that will never fade.”

Full open letter from Team Sky to fans

This news will no doubt come a surprise to many people but, as you may know, there has been a lot of change at Sky recently. It is the start of a new chapter for the company and sometimes it is inevitable that change brings further change with it. That is what has happened here. 

Over the past nine seasons, Sky has backed us all the way, enabling us to achieve some amazing results and inspire millions of people to love our sport. We’d like to thank Sky for all of their support, and in particular the opportunity to help Britain become a cycling nation. 

First things first, nothing changes for next year. Sky are fully committed to the end of 2019 and together we have ambitious goals for the season. We all want to close the Team Sky story with the strongest possible finish. We are more motivated as a Team than we have ever been. 

In terms of the future, we are open minded. If we can find a new long-term partner to take the Team forward into a new era, then we will do so. And we will be doing everything we can to make that happen over the coming weeks and months. Equally, any future partner would have to be the right partner – one who shares our ethos and buys in to our values. 

This news has only just been announced; we can’t predict what will happen from 2020 and there are no guarantees. Whatever happens, we will make sure there is clarity one way or the other about the future of the Team before the Tour de France next July.  

Finally, a big thank you to all of our fans. You are, and have always been, the people who are the most important to us and who matter the most. It has been our privilege to race for you. We are proud to have written our pages in the history books and created memories that will never fade. 

And rest assured we are not done yet by any means. Right now, the Team is at training camp putting in the hard work to get ready for next season. We can’t wait to see you all out on the road in the New Year.  

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Sky announce that cycling sponsorship will end in 2019, leaving Team Sky without a backer

The team announced that their long-time sponsor will be pulling out next year

Team Sky have announced that long-term sponsors Sky will bring its cycling sponsorship to an end next year.

The British WorldTour outfit announced on Wednesday morning that 2019 will be the final year racing under their current name.

Team Sky said that the team will continue to race under a new name from the start of 2020 if a new backer can be found.

Sky Group chief executive Jeremy Darroch said: “We came into cycling with the aim of using the elite success to inspire greater participation at all levels.

“After more than a decade of involvement, I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve achieved with Team Sky and our long-standing partners at British Cycling.

“But the end of 2019 is the right time for us to move on as we open a new chapter in Sky’s story and turn our focus to different initiatives including our Sky Ocean Rescue campaign.”

Darroch added: “I’d like to pay special tribute to Dave Brailsford and the immensely talented team of riders and staff he assembled at Team Sky.

“What they have achieved together would have been beyond the dreams of many just a few years ago.”

>>> Mark Cavendish: ‘Illness was mismanaged so I’ve done myself more damage’ 

“We thank you for joining with us on this journey and look forward to enjoying our last season of racing together.”

Media and telecommunications company Sky has owned and sponsored the team since its inception in 2010.

The team gave Britain its first Tour de France winner, Sir Bradley Wiggins, in 2012, who was followed by Chris Froome and then Geraint Thomas in 2018.

After eight years of racing, the team has notched up 322 win, including eight Grand Tours, 52 other stage races and 25 one-day races.

Sky’s involvement with cycling came into doubt earlier this year when company was bought by American communication giant Comcast.

The company’s chairman James Murdoch, a driving force in Sky’s cycling sponsorship, departed shortly after.

Team Sky insiders said it was business as usual after the takeover, and highlighted CEO Darroch’s support for the team.

>>> UCI confirms all WorldTour and Pro Continental teams for 2019

Sir Dave Brailsford, the Team Sky principal, said: “The vision for Team Sky began with the ambition to build a clear, winning team around a core of British riders and staff.

“The team’s success has been the result of the talent, dedication and hard work of a remarkable group of people who have constantly challenged themselves to scale new heights of performance.

“None of this would have been possible without Sky.

“We are proud of the part we have played in Britain’s transformation into a cycling nation over the last decade.

“While Sky will be moving on at the end of next year, the team is open minded about the future and the potential of working with a new partner, should the right opportunity present itself.

“For now I would like to thank all Team Sky riders and staff, past and present – and above all, the fans who have supported us on this adventure.

“We aren’t finished yet by any means. There is another exciting year of racing ahead of us and we will be doing everything we can to deliver more Team Sky success in 2019.”

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Monica Wilson – Back Extension Tips (15 mins) – Level N/A

You will gain a better understanding of how you can maintain strength in your powerhouse during back extension with this tutorial by Monica Wilson. She shares tips to help keep your spine long during extension so you don’t feel compression in your lower back. She also uses a few different Pilates exercises to show how you can advance and build strength in the back side of your body.

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