A ‘bittersweet end’ for New Zealand’s first ProTeam who had hoped to continue their return to continental status
Bolton Equities manager Black Spoke confirmed today that the team has been forced to disband after failing to find sponsors for the 2024 season.
“All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately, Black Spoke is no exception. I regret to inform you that we were unable to secure the necessary sponsors for the 2024 season, and that the Black Spoke program will end at the end of this year,” General Manager Scott Guyton wrote in a press release.
The team was largely made up of New Zealand runners, first racing at national level in New Zealand until 2020 while the country’s borders were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and then progressing onto the world stage. Initially, Bolton Equities Black Spoke were a continental team and after finishing 2022 at 24th in the UCI Team Rankings, the highest-ranked continental team, they became New Zealand’s first UCI ProTeam in 2023.
The team offered its 20 riders a full season of racing in Europe and Asia. Wins included the Tour of Lake Taihu, the third stage of the Tour of Langkawi, the first stage of the Tour of Hainan with George Jackson, the NZ Cycle Classic with James Oram, as well as the Oceania time trial title won by Tom Sexton and the Speedway. Grand Prize by James Foucher. Cerami’s win as well as Rory Townsend’s win in La Rue Tourangelle.
Of the team’s riders this season, four have announced their contracts for 2024, with New Zealand riders Aaron Jett and Jackson heading to Burgos-PH, Briton Mark Stewart heading to Koratec and Irishman Rory Townsend in the Q36.5. Belgian trainee Victor Vercoli also joins the Flanders Baloise squad.
The group had already announced in September that it would not race as a ProTeam in 2024. At the time it said it was working on a return to the Continental Division as it offered a more sustainable path, but with a move from the Bolton Equities titleless division. The sponsor, he needed additional sponsors to continue.
“We consider ourselves fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead everyone involved in this fantastic team. It is a bittersweet ending, because we have created something truly meaningful and unique. Black Spoke has undoubtedly left its mark on New Zealand cycling history.”
“The past four years would not have been possible without the financial support and passion of Murray and Tali Bolton,” Guyton wrote, describing sponsors as “some of the most generous and motivated people I have ever met.” Your unwavering commitment to Black Spoke has not only shaped your career, but also left a lasting impression on the New Zealand cycling scene. Your vision for Black Spoke has provided New Zealand cyclists with invaluable opportunities to shine on the international stage.
“Although this marks the conclusion of Black Spoke, I hope the legacy she leaves will continue to inspire and motivate the cycling community in New Zealand and beyond. His impact on the sport and the opportunities he has provided for New Zealand cyclists. To shine on the world stage is testament to the vision and commitment of all Participants.
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