Leopard SA deny speculation about RadioShack Nissan financial woes
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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Leopard SA deny speculation about RadioShack Nissan financial woes

by VeloNation Press at 5:00 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Reports of payment complaints by Cancellara and Schleck brothers to the UCI

RadioShack NissanFollowing reports that the team’s top riders had faced a delay in their payments and had complained to the UCI as a result, as well as speculation that financial hardships could lead to the withdrawal of its UCI ProTeam licence, the owners of the RadioShack Nissan team have issued a clear denial that the squad is threatened.

“In response to malicious and unfounded rumours, Leopard SA, the company that owns the professional cycling team Radioshack Nissan Trek, through its Board of Directors, formally denies any situation that could be interpreted as close to collapse or to bankruptcy,” it said in a statement released today.

It was responding to an article in newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung which said that Fabian Cancellara and both Andy and Frank Schleck had complained to the UCI about the non-payment of salaries this year.

Another rider from the team, Jakob Fuglsang, also lodged a complaint recently, making it at least four riders saying that they were affected.

The statement is likely also a response to the Luxembourg newspaper Tageblatt, which said that the Leopard SA company had made a loss of €7,618,109.60 loss in the first half of this fiscal year.

Both prompted speculation that the UCI would soon withdraw the WorldTour licence from the team.

However Leopard SA insists that the concerns are exaggerated and that the team has a solid financial future. “At its early start in professional cycling and at the time of its application for a 4 years UCI license, Leopard’s business plan anticipated an important loss to be covered by its shareholders for its first cycling season,” it continued.

“The financial accounts as of December 31st, 2011 are perfectly aligned with the former budget. The company’s and UCI’s auditors did not only confirm the validity of the annual accounts, but also confirmed the capacity of the company to pursue its activities.

“Leopard is also in line with its business plan for its second cycling season thanks to the support of new sponsors and to the indefectible support of its shareholders and its sponsors who have been with Leopard SA since the creation of the team.”

The squad has faced a turbulent season, with tension cropping up at times between general manager Johan Bruyneel and both the Schleck brothers, as well as Fuglsang. In addition to that, Bruyneel is fighting serious doping charges relating to his time running the US Postal Service team. He has said that he will face an arbitration hearing in a bid to fend off a lifetime ban from the sport.

The Schleck brothers and team-mates such as Jens Voigt have been linked to the formation of a new German team sponsored by Alpecin. The Schlecks have dismissed this by saying they are contractually bound to Leopard SA until the end of next season, although this contract would presumably be void if the UCI did refuse to renew the ProTeam licence.

For now, though, Leopard SA insist this will not be the case.

VeloNation attempted to contact the UCI in relation to this but at the time of writing, had not been able to reach its spokesperson.



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