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Le Col confirms commitment to Wahoo team in wake of budget crunch

VeloNews understands Le Col to end title sponsorship but continue as backer of women's team as Wahoo retains naming rights.

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Apparel brand Le Col is set to end title sponsorship of the women’s continental team ahead of the 2023 season, VeloNews understands.

The British-based brand trebled its investment into the Le Col-Wahoo team to take co-title sponsorship at the start of the 2022 season. However, a larger partner is required for the team to reach its WorldTour ambitions going forward.

VeloNews learned Monday that Le Col confirmed to team officials it was standing aside as a title backer, but continuing as a lower-level sponsor and kit supplier.

VeloNews broke the story last week the Le Col-Wahoo team was forced into a late-season hunt for a new sponsor for 2023 after one of its backers pulled out. The unexpected exit left the team with a €400,000 budget shortfall, some 45 percent of its total sponsorship.

Also read: Le Col-Wahoo scrambling for funds after sponsor pulls out of deal

It is understood Le Col was working collaboratively with the team to find a new sponsor, yet doors to potential deals were closed at the final hour.

VeloNews understands Wahoo will stay on a co-title sponsor going into 2023. The 12-rider team will remain at UCI continental level in 2023 as its WorldTour hopes hit pause.

Team boss Tom Varney told VeloNews last week he remains optimistic for the future despite the recent difficulty.

“As things stand, we have our second highest budget for next year, so it’s still a positive situation based on what we’re used to. It’s not near what we had last season,” Varney said. “I think the most likely situation is that we’ll continue on at a lower level, but I don’t know what that will look like and what structure and race program we can provide.

“I’m not shying away from it, and I’m trying to help riders and speaking to managers. We have a lot of good people who have taken it quite well considering. Let’s see how it involves.”