End of an era: Jelly Belly will not sponsor pro team in 2019

Jelly Belly ends its sponsorship of American pro cycling team after 19 years.

After uncertainty plagued the team at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, Jelly Belly confirmed Tuesday that it would end its sponsorship of the American Continental team after 2018.

The California-based candy company had sponsored the team for the last 19 years, making it one of the longest- running teams in the peloton. For now, it is unclear whether the Jelly Belly-Maxxis team will be able to continue in 2019 with a new title sponsor.

At Tour of Utah, team director Danny Van Haute told VeloNews he was still waiting to hear from Jelly Belly about 2019 sponsorship.

“I should know something in the next two weeks. We usually get a two- or three-year deal from Jelly Belly and then all our other partners follow,” he said, implying that his other sponsors were also waiting on the Jelly Belly decision.

The Tuesday press statement said Van Haute was hopeful that the team would continue.

“Team director Danny Van Haute is optimistic about the team’s future as he pursues a new title sponsor for the 2019 season and beyond,” the statement read.

Jelly Belly representative Rob Swaigen said that the company wanted to pursue new sponsorships instead.

“We have not reached this decision easily,” said Swaigen, vice president of global marketing. “While we have enjoyed our long relationship with the team and the sport of cycling, we feel that the time is right for us to look for opportunities to more closely align our sponsorship programs with company objectives. It has been a pleasure to support this team and their races, to provide a platform to identify young talent, and to develop and prepare our athletes to advance to the highest level of the sport.”

At Utah, Keegan Swirbul was Jelly Belly’s top rider at seventh overall. Last year, Serghei Tvetcov won stage 3 of the Colorado Classic.

The team has also seen a few of its riders go on to race in the WorldTour, including 2016 Tour of Utah winner Lachlan Morton (to Dimension Data), Kiel Reijnen (to Trek-Segafredo), and Phil Gaimon (to Garmin).