McEwen and others react to Pegasus Sports licence refusal
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

McEwen and others react to Pegasus Sports licence refusal

by Shane Stokes at 6:00 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Tough times for riders and staff

Robbie McEwenThe team’s headline rider Robbie McEwen is one of many riders affected by the news yesterday that the Pegasus Sports squad has been refused a UCI Pro Continental licence for 2011 and, after voicing his frustration against the governing body on Twitter, has said that he is considering his next move.

“I’m very disappointed for all involved. I can't comment further as I'm under Katusha contract until 31.12.10, but I’m working out options for 2011,” he told VeloNation.

McEwen is linked to a possible transfer to Team RadioShack; this is based on a direct message mistakenly sent out as a public tweet last week which appeared to be enquiring about a move to the team, and also a message posted by Lance Armstrong there yesterday. He wrote: “on the phone with Johan Bruyneel talking @TeamRadioShack and possibly making some roster additions.”

Rider agent Andrew McQuaid believes that the top-level cyclists such as McEwen have better chances of getting a slot with a new team than the younger competitors. “He would definitely be in the better position,” he told VeloNation, “but then it depends on how much money he will get. Budgets are limited at this point and so maybe the offer won’t be like what he would have otherwise got.

“Riders like him and Robbie Hunter are in a better position as their results are well known…the younger guys who don’t yet have massive results will find it more difficult.”

McQuaid, son of UCI president Pat McQuaid, represents four young riders and has been enquiring around ever since the team was initially turned down for its licence application. “It is a disaster. It is the 20th of December and the message I am getting from team managers is that they would love to help, but they are full,” he stated. “I have four riders – one of them is okay, but there are three who I have to try to place somewhere. They are Daryl Impey, Clinton Avery and Jonnie Walker.

“ProTeams can go up to 30 riders. I don’t think many of them have that amount, so they have the potential to take one. The problem is that not many teams take a full 30 riders and, if they do sign up another at this point, they have to change their bank guarantee and that’s complicated.”

Directeur Sportif Henk Vogels spoke to VeloNation yesterday and said that he hoped that many of the riders would stay on board and race there in 2011, even if it had to compete under a lesser licence than was hoped for.

“I know we are going to try to move forward with a Continental team,” he explained. “We already have support of some of the bigger riders on the team…I think that 80% of the riders will stick around.”

It remains to be seen if that is the case, but sprinter Robbie Hunter inferred on Twitter today that he was looking elsewhere. “Bad time for Pegasus…was really keen for it to work & I don't blame Chris White. Confident I’ll get a ride soon! Hope others will be fine 2.”

Former world under 23 time trial champion Dominique Cornu was one of the first riders to give his reaction. “I don’t know why the UCI has refused our license. Racing under a Continental license is not an option for Pegasus. The project was very attractive. That’s why I threw myself into the adventure,” he told RTBF, referring to his move from Skil-Shimano. “Obviously I made a bad choice. Maybe I'd better find a new team but it will not be easy. Is there still a place somewhere? Do some teams still have a budget for an extra rider?”

Hendrik Redant is also left in the lurch, having left Omega Pharma Lotto to work as directeur sportif with the squad. “It's a real shock. It's unfortunate because we did hard work with the team to shine next season,” he told RTBF. “What will happen? I have no answer. We'll first see what we can do.”

There’s understandably quite a bit of confusion at this point, both for riders and for staff. The days ahead will show in what direction things are going and while it is likely that some of the bigger names may move, it will be interesting to see if the team does indeed continue with a decent lineup. If so, the riders will be determined to prove a point in 2011.


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