Irish EvoPro’s debut season a solid base from which to build
Principals trying to take pressure off chasing funds and instead have three- to five-year plan
Shane Archbold and Aaron Gate. Both participated in the five-day New Zealand Cycle Classic with the EvoPro team in the early part of 2019.
After a strong first year as UCI registered team, the Irish EvoPro team is chasing important backing for the 2020 season. The continental-level squad is run by former Irish professional and past national champion Morgan Fox plus former Cycling Ireland president PJ Nolan and is aiming to both secure its future and to build on its initial success.
The team landed eight UCI victories in its debut year, including a stage win and overall honours in the New Zealand Cycle Classic, a stage win in the 2.1-ranked Tour of Hungary plus three stages in the similarly ranked Belgrade Banjaluka event.
According to Fox, the squad is in negotiations with Irish and international companies and needs to secure a green light in the coming weeks.
Fox said the initial plan had been to prove the model in 2019, and then land bigger sponsorship for subsequent years.
“For year one, we had a couple of angel investors, as well as PJ and myself putting in money. We tried to do something different – rather than going in cold and looking for sponsorship in year one we decided to use that initial 12 months to prove that we could get the results and also to show that we could do the marketing of the team.
“We generated the equivalent of over two millions’ worth of advertising value and can definitely build on that next year and beyond.”
In 2019, the team played a crucial role in Irish cycling. It filled the void created after the end of the Aqua Blue Sport and Sean Kelly teams and gave Mark Downey, Daire Feeley, Aaron Kerney, Daragh O’Mahony, Matthew Teggart and the US-based Cormac McGeough platforms to compete in high-level events overseas and develop as riders.
Fox says that the current negotiations are encouraging, but is also aware that time is of the essence if the team is to continue.
“We are chasing a three-year deal. We are trying to take the pressure off of money hunting each year and instead have a three- to five-year plan. The good thing is that the companies we are talking to seem interested in the same kind of timescale.
“We need to get something finalised soon due to UCI deadlines. The next few weeks will really determine what we are going to be. December 12th is probably the big deadline – we need to have something in place by then.
“Basically we have a lot of pots on the boil at the moment, in terms of negotiations, and are waiting for that magic yes.”