Continental team folds abruptly, leaving riders in the lurch

Turkish team Torku Sekerspor has abruptly folded, leaving many riders without a job at the beginning of the season. Photo: Torku Sekerspor

Torku Sekerspor, a Continental team based in Turkey, folded without warning earlier this month, leaving its riders out of a job, Konyanin Sesi reports. The team’s main sponsor abruptly pulled the plug on the team, and now, efforts are underway to salvage the organization and support the riders. A petition has been created to ask the Turkish government to step in and fund the team. Also, one of the team’s fans, who runs a bike shop in California, has created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the riders. Torku was the only pro team based in Turkey.

The sponsor’s decision must have come with little warning, as the team tweeted about a training ride on January 10.

This news reflects general instability among lower-tier UCI teams. Cult Energy drink company withdrew its support of its Danish Pro Continental team late in 2015. The team will carry on with Stolting Service Group as its title sponsor, but it was touch-and-go for the outfit that’s now home to former Milano-Sanremo champ Gerald Ciolek.