Pegasus Sports reported as having a European sponsor if Pro Continental licence is given
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Pegasus Sports reported as having a European sponsor if Pro Continental licence is given

by Shane Stokes at 6:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Suggestions of tension with Cycling Australia

Pegasus SportsHaving made the UCI’s late application deadline on Wednesday, the Pegasus Sports team is awaiting a decision on whether or not it will be given a Pro Continental licence for its debut season in 2011. One of the existing backers, rumoured to be Scott, upped its commitment to make up for the shortfall in budget. It now appears that a European company will step in as title sponsor if the licence is achieved.

Pegasus Sports owner Chris White told the Sydney Morning Herald that a sponsor has been found, while also stating that he is continuing to search for other backers.

He told the Australian paper he was cautiously optimistic after coming up what was needed to cover the $1.4m shortfall to pay the UCI for the bank deposit.

The original main backer was understood to be the American business man George Gillett, best known for his previous involvement with Liverpool Football Club. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, he was due to provide $4.7m AUS in sponsorship, over half the team’s forecasted annual operational budget of $7m.

Meanwhile rumours of tension between the team and Cycling Australia have increased following statements made by the latter’s president Klaus Mueller yesterday. He complained of a lack of communication from the team.

“One of the unfortunate things, I think, about Pegasus is that they have not fully involved Cycling Australia in the whole process,” Mueller told the Herald. “'They haven't engaged, they haven't approached Cycling Australia, they haven't kept us informed of what they're doing.”

VeloNation has heard suggestions from several sources that Cycling Australia is lukewarm about the project, preferring instead that another team involving Shayne Bannan is the first to secure a ProTeam licence. If so, it’s unclear if that’s down to politics or because of unease about how things have played out thus far with Pegasus and its management.

The governing body said yesterday that it would assist any rider either aggrieved or considering legal action over Pegasus situation.

“All the Australians that have been recruited to that team are our members and we feel a sense of obligation and duty to them,” he stated. “If it fails - and we desperately hope it doesn't - and we get any complaints about any form of misconduct then we'll fully investigate it.”

He said that he wouldn’t be able to act unless a rider came forward. “I'm not sure that we're in a position to go out and be the policeman in all this and actively try to suss out whether there's been any misconduct unless people make complaints about it.”

The team includes a number of strong Australian riders, including twelve-time Tour stage winner Robbie McEwen, Olympic gold medallist Luke Roberts, former national road champion Darren Lapthorne and the climber Trent Lowe.

UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told VeloNation yesterday that the team’s application had been in time. “I can confirm they have sent a completely new file within the deadline, but I can't say how long it will take to go through it.”

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