Former Geox-TMC team owners awarded €6.3 million in Swiss federal court
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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Former Geox-TMC team owners awarded €6.3 million in Swiss federal court

by Shane Stokes at 8:01 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
2011 Vuelta a España-winning team wins case over unpaid sponsorship

Carlos SastreJust over ten months after the Geox-TMC team began to unravel when the first of those two title sponsors walked away, the management company of the squad has announced that it has secured a major judgement in the Swiss courts.

The case was taken by Grupo Deportivo Bike Live against TMC Italia SpA, which it says had agreed to back it to the tune of six million euro over three seasons, 2011 to 2013, but which failed to pay up.

The team included 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre and past Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España winner Denis Menchov. It also included Juan Jose Cobo, with which it won last year’s Vuelta.

“The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, highest judicial body of that country, has condemned TMC Italia SpA definitively and with damages charged for its behaviour during the 2011 cycling season,” said Bike Live in a statement.

It said that the Federal Supreme Court had confirmed an earlier July 25th 2011 verdict of the Court of Abritration of Lugano, taken when TMC failed to satisfy the initial part of the sponsorship agreement.

“Having hugely exploited the marketing and publicity of the Team, TMC Italia SpA rejected to fulfill its commitment. TMC Italia SpA, whose name went around the whole world written all over the jersey of Juan José Cobo, winner of 2011 Vuelta a España, took advantage of the driving force of the prestigious trademark Geox and its wide distribution network. Despite this, it hasn’t deposited a single euro,” it said.

Bike Live blames this failure to pay up as having in turn prompted Geox to itself leave the team. It is not immediately clear if there is a claim against the latter.

Geox was expected to stay on board for at least another year but on October 20th the Italian company suddenly and dramatically walked away from the sport. This caused the team to miss the deadline for UCI ProTeam registration, meaning that it could only aspire to being a Pro Continental team in 2012.

General manager Mauro Gianetti and the team’s sporting manager Josean Matxin Fernandez searched for a replacement backer, exploring several angles and holding talks with the Venezuelan government. These ultimately proved unsuccessful and the team collapsed.

The court ruling sees Bike Live awarded €6.3 million, a sum it says it will collect from TMC Italia SpA, It adds that it may take further action in relation to damages.


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