Pegasus Sports riders could get decision as soon as tomorrow
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Pegasus Sports riders could get decision as soon as tomorrow

by Shane Stokes at 11:04 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Australian riders say uncertainty has caused team to pull together

Pegasus SportsThe all-important decision about whether or not the Pegasus Sports team will be given a Pro Continental licence is expected to come either tomorrow or Wednesday, thus either giving the riders early Christmas cheer or a glum festive season.

The Australian squad was hit by money problems after its main backer George Gillett Jr. walked away, but raised enough cash to lodge all the necessary documents by the revised UCI deadline last Wednesday. Since then there has been silence from the team as the UCI’s auditors sift through the paperwork and decide if the team should get the nod.

VeloNation was told last week by sources close to the team that some of the riders had agreed to a pay cut which, it is hoped, would be reversed if additional funding is secured to restore budget to planned levels. Team owner Chris White subsequently told the Sydney Morning Herald that a European backer was set to come on board if and when the team received the UCI licence.

Two Australian riders spoke to the same newspaper over the weekend and said that the tough circumstances had created a unity and common purpose

''This minor setback has made the team closer,'' Cantwell said. ''The team has gone through this together. It's going to make us stronger.

''Once we get this licence, the first two to three months of our racing schedule is really important. There is a lot of scepticism out there,” the sprinter said. “We really need a strong start to the season to pull that negativity out of their minds, to say: 'Hey, this team is not here because they can but because they want to be and deserve a spot in the pro peloton'.”

He said that the riders were in agreement of what had to be done to get the licence application lodged, presumably referring to the temporary wage cuts. “It wasn't too hard. If we did not make the sacrifices on different levels the project would fall over. To find another job this time of year would be super difficult.” The bank guarantee which needs to be provided to the UCI is based on a percentage of the riders’ salaries.

His compatriot and former Fly V Australia team-mate Aaron Kemps backed up Cantwell's statement. “Everyone wanted to contribute as much as they could,” he said. “If it wasn't by taking less of a salary for the short term, it was by talking to people they knew in business.”

The team also features a number of experienced professionals such as Robbie McEwen, a twelve-time stage winner in the Tour de France. He will also be aiming to ride strongly from the off, leading by example, and will hope that the team secures both the licence plus an invitation to the Santos Tour Down Under, which begins on January 16th.

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