Sky to end team sponsorship after 2019 season

Bradley Wiggins celebrates his 2012 Tour de France win

Earlier in the day, Sky announced that at the end of 2019 it will put an end to the ownership and sponsorship of the team.

"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, " Team Sky general manager Dave Brailsford said.

Six-time Grand Tour victor Froome said: "We've got to remain optimistic and not lose focus on what we've got to do".

Team Sky are managed by the British-registered company Tour Racing Limited, which is 85 per cent owned by Sky, with 21st Century Fox owning the remaining 15 per cent. Broadcaster BSkyB, who first began their relationship with British Cycling in 2008 with a £1 million sponsorship in track cycling, agreed to finance the team and put in place three key aims: produce the first British victor of the Tour de France within five years, inspire people to take up cycling and support competitive cycling in the UK.

In the summer Geraint Thomas became the third Team Sky rider - as well as the third Briton - to win the Tour de France, the team's sixth success at the race in seven years.

"We plan to be together in 2020 if at all possible", said Chris Froome, who has raced for Team Sky since its debut in 2010 and won four Tour de France titles. Articles appear on for a limited time.

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

Over the past nine seasons, Sky has backed us all the way, enabling us to achieve some incredible results and inspire millions of people to love our sport.

The intention of Sky is to find a new owner and sponsor to take over the team before the 2020 season but it remains to be seen whether there will be a viable buyer. "Comcast are aware and supportive of what we have chose to do, but this is our decision not theirs".

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However, the team's rise to the top of professional cycling has been controversial with Sky's huge budget dwarfing that of its rivals - the media giant has invested more than £180m over the last 10 years in the team.

He delivered on his promise of a first British Tour de France victor and Team Sky has transformed the professional cycling landscape.

Team Sky, led by Brailsford, have dealt with everything thrown at them so far, however, and are not in the mood to give up now.

Team Sky also have plenty of detractors within cycling for tactics that many believe stifle racing.

Froome was the subject of an anti-doping case after his La Vuelta win last year, though it was dropped by the UCI a week before the start of this year's Tour.

Sky were also in the crosshairs for a suspected anti-doping violation over a mystery package reportedly destined for Wiggins in 2011, although a UK Anti-Doping investigation concluded with no charges brought.

When questioned by the digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) select committee, Brailsford insisted the package contained the legal decongestant Fluimucil but was unable to provide substantive proof.

Wiggins denied that any drug had been used without medical need and hit out at the process, saying it was "so sad that accusations can be made, where people can be accused of things they have never done which are then regarded as facts".

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