Exergy Development Group, the sponsor of the Exergy Tour, numerous other bicycle races around the country and two cycling teams, is citing a lax attitude towards doping within cycling culture for its decision to cut the sponsorship of its men's pro team.
Several riders had already been signed to ride for the 2013 Team Exergy men's team, including Canadian Criterium champion Ben Chaddock and three-time U.S. road champion Freddie Rodriguez.
According to an Exergy press release, "Exergy Development Group shall continue to invest in the future of men’s professional cycling when the funding will be met by a degree of sincerity and determination to reconstruct the sport" on the parts of riders and sponsors.
The slash in funding follows a doping scandal that implicated some of the sport's most well-known riders, including Lance Armstrong, who lost his seven consecutive Tour de France titles after being shown to have used and distributed performance enhancing drugs.
The announcement also coincides with news of Exergy Development's financial woes, including accusations that it failed to pay invoices after the Exergy Tour and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, and lawsuits over failure to make turbine payments.
Exergy's women's team—Exergy Twenty16—and its outreach efforts to women and youth riders will not be affected by the announcement.
The full text of the announcement, released by Exergy Development CEO James Carkulis:
Over the last four years, Exergy Development Group has become one of the largest contributors of sponsorships in North American cycling, and the company remains committed to the sport. Exergy Development Group has been the title sponsor of the men’s professional cycling team, Team Exergy, since 2009, and recently announced its return for a fourth season. However, circumstances have persisted since the announcement which continues to erode the stature of men’s professional cycling. Exergy Development Group shall not return to this level of sponsorship in 2013.
Exergy Development Group has patiently awaited substantial changes between the time that the sponsorship was announced and the present, yet the industry has failed to fully grasp the gravity of the taint of scandal and deceit. The company cannot condone half measures to alleviate the severity of the problem, and requires a dramatic transformation to guarantee those who ride clean are allowed to excel at their profession and bring pride back to the sport.
James Carkulis, CEO of Exergy Development Group states, “I am totally disheartened to have to place our sponsor dollars for our disciplined men’s team on hiatus for the 2013 season, but there is no choice given the corruption prevalent within the sport. The magnitude of this situation should not be taken lightly and ignoring the severity is not going to rebuild the public’s trust in the sport. This has not been an easy decision, but one shared by our team management. In cooperation with management, we will ensure that each rider is placed and provided for. Exergy will not sit idly by, but intends to offer up rational solutions over the next month which regenerates the greatness of this perfect synthesis between man and machine.
Exergy Development Group shall continue to invest in the future of men’s professional cycling when the funding will be met by a degree of sincerity and determination to reconstruct the sport. Exergy Development Group shall reevaluate each of our other major men’s race sponsor commitments and support those which insist on fundamental change. Exergy shall continue to support women’s and junior cycling through the professional women’s cycling team, ExergyTWENTY16, and expand opportunities for women to excel. The company shall also continue to support USA Cycling and the many events involved. The company shall continue to contribute to a groundswell of supportive efforts which focus on cultivating ethics, grace, and commitment emblematic of cycling like the Fast Freddie Foundation and youth development. This critical decision has been forced upon many of cycling’s major sponsors, and although Exergy Development Group shall continue to enable youth development and provide parity into women’s cycling, the company requires massive overhaul to the system to produce a sport that can be trusted and respected before it returns to its previous sponsorship participation.