The manager of the Bolton Equities Black Spoke team confirmed today that the team has been forced to disband after failing to secure sponsors for the 2024 season.
“All good things must eventually end, and regrettably, Black Spoke is no exception. I am saddened to announce that we have been unable to secure the sponsors required for the 2024 season, and Black Spoke will conclude at the end of this year,” general manager Scott Guyton wrote in an announcement.
The team largely consisted of riders from New Zealand, racing domestically at first in New Zealand through 2020, while the nation’s borders were closed through the COVID-19 pandemic, then progressing onto the world stage. Initially Bolton Equities Black Spoke was a Continental team and after finishing 2022 in 24th spot on the UCI team rankings, the highest placed Continental squad, it stepped up to become New Zealand’s first UCI ProTeam in 2023.
The team delivered its 20 riders a full season of racing in Europe and Asia. Wins included the Tour of Taihu Lake, stage 3 of the Tour of Langkawi plus stage 1 of Tour of Hainan with George Jackson, the NZ Cycle Classic with James Oram, along with the Oceania time trial title taken by Tom Sexton and James Fouché’s Grand Prix Cerami win as well as Rory Townsend’s victory at La Roue Tourangelle.
Of the riders on the team this season, four have announced contracts for 2024, with New Zealand riders Aaron Gate and Jackson heading to Burgos-BH, Britain’s Mark Stewart is going to Corratec and Ireland’s Rory Townsend to Q36.5. Belgian trainee Victor Vercouillie is also heading to Team Flanders-Baloise.
The group had already flagged in September that it would no longer race as a ProTeam in 2024. At that time said it was working toward returning to the Continental division as it provided a more sustainable pathway, but with Bolton Equities shifting to a non-title sponsor it needed additional sponsors to proceed.
“We consider ourselves fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead all those involved in this remarkable team. It’s a bittersweet ending, as we’ve established something truly significant and unique. Black Spoke has undeniably made a mark on New Zealand’s cycling history.
“The last four years would not have been possible without the financial backing and passion from Murray and Talei Bolton,” Guyton wrote, calling the sponsors “among the most generous and motivated people I’ve ever met. Your unwavering commitment to Black Spoke has not only shaped careers but…