British Cycling have revealed that 2016 will be the final year of their partnership with telecommunications company Sky after both parties mutually agreed to end their long-running association.

The partnership has been in place since 2008, with Sky aiming to help British Cycling with their aim of increasing participation at all levels of the sport by providing support for elite level athletes, who it was hoped would inspire the next generation of cyclists.

Their collaborative work has seen 1.7 million more people cycle regularly throughout Britain, with Sky Ride events which include traffic free and guided rides, set to pass the one million participant mark by the time the partnership has come to a close.

While they achieved success on the grassroots side of the sport, there was also unprecedented success for the British cycling team at elite level, having won 16 gold, 11 silver and seven bronze medals at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The success and Sky’s coverage has helped to turn cyclists such as double Olympic champion Laura Trott into established stars and role models, which has helped to see the membership of British Cycling grow from less than 21,000 in January 2008 to more than 111,000 in June 2015.

“British Cycling and Sky will remain firm friends and part with great mutual affection, having achieved amazing things together,” Ian Drake, British Cycling chief executive said.

“The last 10 years have been brilliant for our sport – our membership and participation in cycle sport continues to grow, we’ve encouraged over 1.7 million people to cycle regularly with even more starting all the time and we are seeing the emergence of a new generation of cycling heroes.

“The partnership with Sky since 2008 is an important part of that story.

“Successes for British riders at London 2012 transformed the country’s sporting expectations but winning medals was never an end in itself - we have harnessed those achievements to inspire unprecedented growth in participation.”

The partnership had helped elite athletes such as Laura Trott acheive success and has boosted participation numbers in cycling
The partnership had helped elite athletes such as Laura Trott acheive success and has boosted participation numbers in cycling ©Getty Images

While the partnership will draw to a close in 2016, British Cycling maintain their ambition to get one million more women into cycling by 2020 and transform Britain into a true cycling nation by aiming to achieve better conditions on roads for cyclists, while maintaining their success at the top level of the sport.

Meanwhile, Sky have reiterated their commitment to cycling despite the agreement coming to a close, as they claimed they will help British Cycling to find a new partner from 2017 and will continue to support the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Tour outfit Team Sky, as well as the newly formed UCI Continental road squad Team WIGGINS.

The company's name will be removed from the Sky Rides but will aim to support cycling through Sky Academy initiatives.

“We’re immensely proud of our great partnership with the whole team at British Cycling,” said Jeremy Darroch, Sky Group chief executive.

“Together we have helped to transform the sport at all levels including over 1.7 million more people cycling regularly and unprecedented medal success.

“This is a lasting legacy and we will give everything to make the final 18 months of our relationship just as successful.”

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