Gazprom-RusVelo riders in the marketplace as staff suspends all exercise

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The Gazprom-RusVelo biking staff have formally suspended its actions and launched their riders and employees from their contracts, with staff supervisor Renat Khamidulin accusing UCI president David Lappartient of doing nothing to attempt to assist the staff attempt to survive.

The UCI adopted related selections in different sports activities and the Worldwide Olympic Committee’s suggestions when, on March 1, they suspended all Russian and Belarusian groups, together with Gazprom-RusVelo, from competitors following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Particular person Russian and Belarusian athletes have been allowed to proceed to compete for different groups.

Since then Khamidulin has desperately been attempting to discover a new title sponsor to cowl estimated prices of €4 million however to this point has nothing concrete in place.

Khamidulin is indignant that the UCI didn’t attempt to do extra to maintain the staff alive beneath a unique nationality, which might have helped discover a new sponsor. He’s about to formalise the termination of the rider and employees contracts and wind down the administration firm that ran the staff from Switzerland and Italy.  

He informed Cyclingnews that the staff had funding in place to pay salaries for the entire of March and invites to fifteen days of WorldTour racing however claimed the UCI wouldn’t assist them to attempt to survive.

“We’ve suspended all exercise as we mentioned we’d do. We’re nonetheless on the lookout for a sponsor however there’s nothing concrete in place and so I can’t ask the 52 riders and employees to attend any longer,” Khamidulin mentioned.

“It’s tragic as a result of we’ve acquired a wonderfully functioning staff construction, with staff automobiles, staff buses, bikes and tools and riders who’re in a position to win. Mathias Vacek gained a stage on the UAE Tour and on Sunday Alessandro Fedeli completed second on the GP Industria in Italy.”

The staff was sponsored by Gazprom Germany, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gazprom in Russia, however the staff was able to race in clean white jerseys beneath a brand new nationality to attempt to entice a brand new sponsor. French firms Look and Corima pulled their assist of the staff in early March however the staff saved the tools, eradicating all branding.

“We’d have attracted a number of consideration which might have helped save the staff. It was our probability, the riders agreed to the plan and had been motivated however the UCI mentioned no and didn’t assist us in any respect. By not doing something, they went in opposition to us,” Khamidulin claimed.

The riders and employees are actually free to seek out new groups however even essentially the most profitable riders reminiscent of UAE Tour stage winner Mathias Vacek and staff chief Ilnur Zakarin will wrestle to seek out new groups mid-season, with 2022 budgets allotted.

Various main WorldTour groups have been hit by COVID-19 instances and harm this spring however the UCI has to this point refused to extend the 31-rider staff dimension restrict to assist the groups and the Gazprom-RusVelo riders. EF Training EasyPost, Ineos Grenadiers, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, Israel-Premier Tech, QuickStep-AlphaVinyl and Trek-Segafredo all have 31 riders – the utmost allowed for 2022 – and so can’t enhance their roster. ProTeams have smaller rosters and budgets and so are much less more likely to rent riders mid-season.

“The world of biking is watching to see what the UCI does to assist however we’re seeing they need to play at politics reasonably than defend and assist the riders and employees,” Khamidulin informed Cyclingnews.

“The UCI wished to punish a Russian staff however they’re penalising riders from Italy, Norway, Spain and even Costa Rica. Even when three or 4 of the riders discover new groups, all of the others, 18 or so, are going to be left on the road. That’s not proper. I’ve additionally acquired a mechanic from the Ukraine and Russian employees who’ve wives from the Ukraine, who’ve misplaced their jobs there. They’re determined.

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