Team Sky future unclear as Sky opt to end involvement in cycling

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Team Sky's future has been plunged into doubt with the news their main headline sponsor will end their involvement in cycling after the 2019 season.

Sky confirmed on Wednesday that the next 12 months will be their last on the UCI World Tour, leaving the future Dave Brailsford's team unclear.

Brailsford launched the team in 2010 and has enjoyed unprecedented success as Team Sky, winning 322 times – including eight Grand Tours and 25 one-day races.

Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas have all won the Tour de France yellow jersey racing for the team - success that has brought some animosity towards the British team on the road.

Questions about the legality of Wiggins' win and Froome's adverse analytical finding this year have turned some fans against the team.

Froome, who infamously had urine thrown on him at the 2015 Tour, was cleared of any wrongdoing over his use of salbutamol by the UCI ahead of July's event.

Wiggins and Team Sky strongly refuted claims by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee that they crossed an "ethical line" by using legal drugs to allegedly enhance the performance of the 2012 Tour winner.

What happens after the 2019 season remains unclear, although cycling teams regular change main sponsors so another having to seek funding is nothing new.

And Brailsford confirmed the team are open to new opportunities but gave no guarantees that cycling's most successful squad in recent times would be in the peloton from 2020.

"The vision for Team Sky began with the ambition to build a clean, winning team around a core of British riders and staff," he said.

"The team's success has been the result of the talent, dedication and hard work of a remarkable group of people who have constantly challenged themselves to scale new heights of performance. None of this would have been possible without Sky. We are proud of the part we have played in Britain's transformation into a cycling nation over the last decade.

"While Sky will be moving on at the end of next year, the team is open minded about the future and the potential of working with a new partner, should the right opportunity present itself. 

"For now, I would like to thank all Team Sky riders and staff, past and present - and above all the fans who have supported us on this adventure.

 "We aren't finished yet by any means. There is another exciting year of racing ahead of us and we will be doing everything we can to deliver more Team Sky success in 2019."