Today saw the announcement from the general manager of the Bolton Equities Black Spoke team that, due to sponsorship difficulties, the team will be disbanding after the current season. Scott Guyton expressed his regret at the situation, noting that despite their best efforts, sponsorship for the forthcoming 2024 season could not be secured, signalling an end to the team’s journey.
Originating in New Zealand, the team began its foray into the competitive cycling world domestically in 2020 amidst the global lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bolton Equities Black Spoke then made its mark internationally by scaling up from a Continental team to New Zealand’s first UCI ProTeam in 2023 after a commendable finish in the UCI team rankings the previous year.
Over its tenure, the team provided a roster of 20 riders with a full schedule of races across Europe and Asia, notching wins at various events such as the Tour of Taihu Lake, Tour of Langkawi, Tour of Hainan, NZ Cycle Classic, and garnered titles including the Oceania time trial and the Grand Prix Cerami. They were also notable participants at the Tour of Britain, which is also undergoing struggles for 2024.
In light of the difficult news, some riders have already made strides towards their future riding endeavours. Four team members have secured contracts for the following year, with New Zealanders Aaron Gate and George Jackson joining Burgos-BH, Mark Stewart of Britain moving to Corratec, and Ireland’s Rory Townsend joining Q36.5. Additionally, Belgian trainee Victor Vercouillie is set to become part of Team Flanders-Baloise.
Despite a previous announcement in September that the team was planning to return to the Continental division for a more sustainable future, the search for new sponsors has proven unsuccessful. Acknowledging the support received, Guyton extended heartfelt thanks to Murray and Talei Bolton for their financial backing and passion, which has been crucial in propelling the team and shaping careers.
As the team faces its conclusion, Guyton remains hopeful that the legacy established by Black Spoke will continue to inspire and influence the cycling community in New Zealand and internationally. He emphasised the team’s contribution to New Zealand’s cycling history and expressed his gratitude for the opportunities it presented to Kiwi cyclists.
Amidst the disappointment, it’s clear that Black Spoke has left an indelible mark on the sport, fostering a legacy of determination and success — a testament to the indomitable spirit of New Zealand’s cycling community.