Cannondale-Drapac could cease to exist after one of its sponsors pulled out of a deal and left the professional cycling team with a $7million (£5.4million) funding black hole.
The American team has enjoyed a successful year on the road with star rider Rigoberto Uránfinishing second overall in the Tour de France behind Team Sky but, unless a new backer is found, the future looks bleak.
Cannondale-Drapac has released its riders form any contractual obligations and told them they are free to find themselves new teams.
“Without this partner’s support, we cannot guarantee our financial security and subsequently our UCI WorldTour license for 2017,” read a team statement.
“We remain hopeful that this situation may resolve itself in the next few days and that the team may find new financial backing; however, without this guarantee, we felt an obligation to the individuals who make up our team to notify them of our current situation and give them time to look for their best options.
Urán, who signed a new three-year contract with the team earlier this month, has said he will wait up to two weeks to see if a new backer can be found before signing for a new team.
In total, Cannondale-Drapac has 28 professional cyclists and around 60 other staff members, all of whom are now facing unemployment.
General manager and former pro cyclist Jonathan Vaughters is working on finding new funding for the team and is considering various options. It is understood he has already secured a promise for $1million if the rest can be found.
In addition to looking for new traditional, corporate sponsors, Cannondale-Drapac has launched a crowd-funding project in the hope that at least some of the total can be raised in that way.
While it is unclear which sponsor has pulled their funding, Vaughters stated it was not one of their current partners.
“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,” he said. “These sponsors have lived up to their promises; however, without additional financial backing, the numbers simply don’t add up.”