Look and Corima have announced they will stop their sponsorship of the Russian Gazprom-RusVelo ProTeam as the UCI prepares to announce sanctions on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.
On Monday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to recommend that international sports federations such as the UCI do not allow athletes or officials from Russia or its accomplice in the invasion of Ukraine, Belarus, to take part in their competitions. The Australian Cycling Federation AusCycling also told Cyclingnews that no Russian or Belarusian national teams would be permitted to compete in this year’s World Championships in Australia.
FIFA and the UEFA banned Russian teams and clubs from their football competitions, but the UCI has yet to issue a response to the IOC recommendation. The UCI told Cyclingnews that it would issue a statement on the matter later on Tuesday.
Should the UCI follow the IOC and other sports, the Russian-registered Gazprom-RusVelo team could be prevented from racing the Trofeo Laigueglia on Wednesday and Tirreno-Adriatico this weekend. Title sponsor Gazprom is the Russian majority state-owned energy company that supplies gas to much of Europe.
Czech rider Mathias Vacek won stage 6 of the UAE Tour last week but it is not clear if this would affect the long-term future of the team and if non-Russian athletes would be able to continue racing.
The team’s management company is registered in Switzerland. However several rider agents have told Cyclingnews they are preparing for the impact of the UCI decision.
Key technical sponsors have opted not to wait for the UCI to act. Look provides frames and pedals to the team, while Corima supplies wheels. Other key technical sponsors include Campagnolo, Elite, Limar, Prologo, Northwave and Trainingpeaks.
In a post on social media, Look and the Corima announced in similar messages that “in light of the recent shocking and unforgivable news, we have decided to stop our technical support and partnership with the Gazprom-RusVelo Cycling Team.”
“We think of sport as a means to unite nations and have always supported and will continue to support athletes of all nationalities. We join the multitude of athletes and their call for peace,” Look said.
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