Team Sky are facing a search for a new sponsor after owners Sky announced they will end their long-standing involvement in professional cycling and Team Sky at the end of 2019. 

The team's riders, including four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome and this year's winner Geraint Thomas, were informed of the news last night at their training camp in Mallorca.

Sir Dave Brailsford, the team principal, was informed of Sky's decision to end their ownership and sponsorship of the team last week. He was said to be shocked at the news, but is hopeful that a buyer can be found before the 2020 season.

End of an era? Team Sky's dominance of cycling is at risk as sponsors Sky pull out. Photo: Olly Townsend
End of an era? Team Sky's dominance of cycling is at risk as sponsors Sky pull out. Photo: Olly Townsend

Sky have backed the team since its inception in 2009, when it set out with the aim - widely ridiculed at the time - of providing the first British winner of the Tour de France. In the ten years since its foundation the team have more than delivered on that goal, with six Tour de France titles shared among Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas.

Team Sky's dominance has not been without controversy, and in recent years cycling's governing body and ASO, the owners of the Tour de France, have taken steps designed to lessen the team's dominance including reducing team sizes from nine to eight riders at the Tour de France.

Sky's financial backing, believed to be over £150 million in the past decade, made Team Sky easily the richest team in pro cycling. This fact coupled with suspicions over the team's use of medical "therapeutic use exemptions" (TUEs) for controlled medications means that the team's current existential threat may be viewed with mixed feelings by rivals in the sport.

However, Sky are planning to find a replacement sponsor in the next year. Sir Dave Brailsford said: "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.

"For now, I would like to thank all Team Sky riders and staff, past and present - and above all the fans who have supported us on this adventure."