Gazprom-RusVelo have lost their bike and wheel sponsors following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
French bike brands Look and Corima have announced they will stop “technical support and partnership” for the Gazprom team. Although the team is registered in Switzerland, it is sponsored by Gazprom, the Russian state-owned energy company. That means that Gazprom-Rusvelo have lost both their wheel and bike sponsors, as the invasion of Ukraine escalated further on Tuesday.
On February 24 , Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, one of its neighbours to the southwest. It marked a major escalation between the countries, which had been in a state of conflict since 2014. The invasion was preceded by Russian military build-ups around Ukraine’s borders from early 2021. Many countries in the West accused Russia of planning an invasion, but President Vladimir Putin and other officials continued to deny it.
— LOOK Cycle (@lookcycle) March 1, 2022
Both French companies posted the same message on Tuesday, announcing their withdrawal of sponsorship. “We, Look Cycle, think of sport as a means to unite nations and have always supported and will continue to support athletes of all nationalities,” was posted on its social media platforms. “We join the multitude of athletes on their call for peace. That being said, 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.”
— CORIMA (@corimawheels) March 1, 2022
It is not evident quite yet what this means for the team. Do they need to return their bikes? Or does it simply mean the French companies will no longer continue to support the squad? The ProContinental team is supposed to be riding the Trofeo Laigueglia in Italy Wednesday, followed by Tirreno-Adriatico next week. Given the plethora of sanctions and economic moves by Western companies, it is possible the team may not even be allowed to race.
Following the invasion of Ukraine, TrainingPeaks has ended its partnership with Gazprom-RusVelo, a cycling team sponsored by state-owned Russian energy company Gazprom. We cannot support an organization that in any way promotes senseless acts of military aggression.
— TrainingPeaks (@TrainingPeaks) March 1, 2022
On the team’s website, most likely responding to the news, the “partners” page no longer lists any of its sponsors.