(Reuters) - Tour de France runner-up Rigoberto Uran has been told he can look for another team after his Cannondale-Drapac outfit said they faced a funding shortfall and might not be able to continue.
A statement from the American team’s holding company Slipstream Sports said all their riders and staff were free to look for other options because of the uncertainty.
Slipsteam Sports said doubts over a potential new partner for 2018 had prompted the decision.
“Without this partner’s support, we cannot guarantee our financial security and subsequently our UCI World Tour licence for 2017,” a statement said.
“All Slipstream Sports staff have been released from any and all contractual obligations for 2018. All 2018 contracts will be honoured if our future is secured.”
The team, who need some $7 million to operate a World Tour team, said they remained hopeful that the situation could be resolved in the next few days.
“We want to be clear. All of our current sponsors and partners (Cannondale, Drapac, Oath, POC) have remained committed to support our team in 2018,” the statement said.
“These sponsors have lived up to their promises; however, without additional financial backing, the numbers don’t add up. We remain steadfastly invested in keeping the team alive.”
The team recently announced that Colombian Uran, who finished second to Chris Froome in the Tour in July, had signed a three-year deal.
“There are other teams interested in Rigoberto for sure but we wait for one week, two weeks,” Uran’s agent Giuseppe Acquadro told Cyclingnews. “We hope that Cannondale can find a new sponsor but we have possibilities. We want to give Cannondale more time, and we want to help save the team.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Clare Fallon