Commentary

Inside Slipstream's brush with death

Updated: October 16, 2017, 5:26 PM ET
By Caley Fretz, Special from VeloNews

Since 2010, Cannondale-Drapac has gone through two mergers, and added or changed title sponsors five more times.

THE PHONE CALL came in on August 25, early in the morning. Jonathan Vaughters picked it up, listened for a few minutes, and was sure his team was dead.

Vaughters and Slipstream Sports, the management company behind Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling, had been on the sponsorship prowl for a year. They were already looking, really. Since 2010 the team endured two mergers and added or changed title sponsors five more times (Garmin, Garmin-Transitions, Garmin-Sharp, Garmin-Barracuda, Cannondale). Slipstream kept moving, grasping onto whatever funding it could find because cycling's sponsorship model punishes idleness with death.

"We're cockroaches in a nuclear apocalypse," Vaughters says.

Despite the near-constant financial flux, never before August 25 had the team been so close to collapse. That fateful, early-morning call came from a sponsor the team had courted for months. At the eleventh hour, it pulled the plug. The deal was off. Vaughters has declined to name the company.

Slipstream suddenly needed $7 million to simply meet the UCI's financial requirements for a WorldTour team. It had just weeks to find it.

Click here to read the full story from VeloNews.

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