RadioShack-Nissan riders complain to UCI over non-payment of salaries
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Thursday, June 28, 2012

RadioShack-Nissan riders complain to UCI over non-payment of salaries

by Ben Atkins at 10:33 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Sport’s governing body confirms that three riders have reported irregularities

radioshack-nissanAt least three riders from the RadioShack-Nissan team have complained to the International Cycling Union (UCI) over non-payment of their salaries, radsport-news.com reports. The UCI’s press spokesman Enrico Carpani has confirmed to German press agency DAPD that riders had complained of irregularities, but would not release further details.

During the Tour de Suisse it was reported by Swiss newspaper Blick that several of the Luxembourg-registered team’s riders had received their May salary late. This could see the team liable to UCI penalties.

The RadioShack-Nissan team, which is composed of a merger of the rosters of the 2011 Leopard-Trek and RadioShack teams, has been beset with problems almost from day one but, until now, none were financial. Both of the Schleck brothers, Fränk and Andy, as well as Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang, have been in open conflict with the team’s general manager Johan Bruyneel, but the Belgian himself has withdrawn from the Tour de France team car as he answers charges from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), over his part in the alleged “US Postal Service Conspiracy” that surrounded the Tour winning years of Lance Armstrong.

Last month there was also controversy as Chris Horner - one of only three US riders on the team backed by a US company - was omitted from the team’s long list for the Tour. The 40-year-old then appeared on the actual nine-man roster, possibly in place of Fuglsang, who claims that the team has told him that he will no longer be sent to any races in the UCI WorldTour as he has expressed a desire to leave.

Despite being the merger of two teams’ sponsors, the team apparently still seems highly dependant on the personal input of Leopard-Trek backer Flavio Becca. The Luxembourg businessman has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons himself however, as last year the Luxembourg media reported that the offices a number of companies connected to him were raided as part of an investigation into fraudulent embezzlement. There have also been suggestions that he is under financial pressure.

A similar incident occurred in 2009 with the Astana team, which was also run by Bruyneel at the time, when riders’ salaries were not being paid in the run up to the Giro d’Italia. Reportedly, the team’s Kazakh backers were less than impressed with paying for a team that featured Armstrong and Alberto Contador, but few stars from their own country; the team’s future was in doubt for a while, until the sponsors were talked round.

With few details released it’s hard to say whether the reports to the UCI concern the reported late payment of May salaries, or something more serious. With the embattled team set to start the Tour on Saturday however - without 2010 winner Andy Schleck, who fractured his sacrum in the Critérium du Dauphiné - this is yet another distraction that it could do without.

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