Kelly says timing of Cervélo announcement makes things difficult for the riders
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Kelly says timing of Cervélo announcement makes things difficult for the riders

by Shane Stokes at 9:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
 
Team undertakes to try to help find new contracts

Sean KellyFormer world number one Sean Kelly believes that the timing of the Cervélo Test Team’s announcement that the project will end makes things tough for those currently employed by the Pro Continental squad.

“The news is a big surprise for everyone here,” he told VeloNation, speaking from a meeting of the UCI road commission in Geneva. “It is a big shock. It’s just more riders who are there who are going to be without contracts.”

“There are already a lot – with Lotto in Belgium, there are already 12 or 13 riders they are not re-signing. Then you have Milram, too – some of them have signed in other places, but a lot of them are still looking out. And now you have Cervélo. It is going to be difficult for some of those riders to find something at this point.”

Many of the riders on the team had contracts for next season, or at least the expectation that they would be re-signed. However they discovered this week that due to the spiralling costs associated with being a Pro Continental team trying to compete in the major races, that the sponsors were unwilling or unable to keep the project going beyond the end of this season.

The main backer, the frame manufacturer Cervélo, will instead become a co-sponsor of the Garmin team in 2011. A small number of riders and some staff are expected to also move to the US ProTour squad, while the others will have to try to earn slots elsewhere.

Cervélo TestTeam general manager Joop Alberda held a press conference yesterday, and said that the management would do what it could to try to help those who don’t have options.

“All contacts will be respected until Dec. 31, 2010,” Alberda said. “We're working very hard to find teams for our riders and staff for next year. A number of riders will join the team Garmin-Transitions, some mechanics and masseurs will also join that team. We're also talking to other teams.”

Big name riders such as Thor Hushovd and Heinrich Haussler are likely to be unaffected, with Garmin thought to be one possible destination for both. However others will have a stressful time ahead in searching in the current market, as Kelly pointed out.

One section of the team that is likely to be less affected is the women’s squad. Garmin-Transitions manager Jonathan Vaughters told VeloNation yesterday that he hoped to take many of the current riders to the new women’s Garmin-Cervélo Team.

According to Vaughters, that talent will also include many of the female riders who lined out with the Swiss team this year. Cervélo backed a women’s team before setting up the men’s squad, and that commitment remains in place.

“I think it is great the Cervélo bike company gave us the sponsorship we need to be able to run a women’s team,” he said. “It is something that we wanted to do for a while, but we never had the resources to do it. The bike company is giving us the resources to make this women’s team happen, and we are also relying on their expertise to help us find the way, as regards staff and riders and how to organise it. I believe it is big win.

“I think that the core of the team will stay together. They will have a similar racing programme to this year, and Egon Van Kessel will continue as the directeur sportif. It should be one of the best women’s programmes in the world.”

Nine Cervélo riders will begin the Vuelta a España this evening. Carlos Sastre has already announced a deal with the new Team Geox, but Hushovd, Íñigo Cuesta, Theo Bos, Philip Deignan, Stefan Denifl, Xavier Florencio, Oscar Pujol and Xavier Tondo have now additional motivation to ride aggressively.

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