• Cannondale Drapac at the 2017 Vuelta a EspaƱa. (Getty)Source: Getty
Cannondale-Drapac announced a boost in their fight for financial survival after a public campaign to raise money for the cash-strapped outfit.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
Reuters
31 Aug 2017 - 9:00 AM  UPDATED 31 Aug 2017 - 12:17 PM

A statement on Wednesday from Slipstream Sports, the holding company behind the American team, said consulting firm Fairly Group had pledged a $2 million ($2.53 million AUD) in match-funding after cycling fans reacted to their plight with a crowd-funding scheme.

Cannondale-Drapac on the ropes after sponsorship shortfall
After the 2017 Tour de France, where Rigoberto Uran finished second overall, the future of Cannondale-Drapac looked bright, but now its chances of surviving to compete in 2018 are in serious doubt.

A page on the Slipstream Sports website invites individuals and businesses to contribute a minimum of $25 in return for "rewards" such as team merchandise and rides with the team.

"I'm overwhelmed by the response and level of support at the grassroots level," Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports, said in a statement.

"There are hundreds of thousands of fans across America and the world who want to see Slipstream continue to create a platform for America's best riders to compete, and they have inspired us and Fairly Group."

The Fairly funding, based on matching offers by other fans and businesses, would help fill some of the $7 million shortfall in the team's finances after a sponsorship deal for 2018 fell through. Cannondale-Drapac has told its riders and staff they can break their contracts and look elsewhere for work.

Rigoberto Uran, second in the Tour de France behind Team Sky's Chris Froome, is the team's highest-profile rider and would not be short of offers from rival teams.

Three Americans rode in the green colours of Cannondale-Drapac at this year's Tour - Taylor Phinney, Nathan Brown and Andrew Talansky.

"American pro cycling has a rich history of competitive excellence and Slipstream has carried the torch for many years," Alex Fairly, president of the Fairly group, said.

"Our ethos is built on our willingness to step into our client's most difficult challenges, and our goal in making this commitment is to provide a spark that continues to ignite the flame of support for America's best pro cyclists."