Amid reports of a rival ProTeam bid, Cycling Australia says it endorsed Pegasus Sports' application
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Amid reports of a rival ProTeam bid, Cycling Australia says it endorsed Pegasus Sports' application

by Shane Stokes at 8:38 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Another Australian team thought to be chasing ProTeam licence for 2012

Pegasus SportsAmid suggestions that there may have been tensions between the Pegasus Sports team and Cycling Australia, and that another team may be the preferred choice for a ProTeam licence, the governing body has released a statement saying that it regretted the team’s situation.

“Cycling Australia is disappointed Pegasus Racing has been unable to secure a Pro Continental licence. We don't know the reasons why as we have no additional information to that contained in the UCI's media release.

“We provided a written endorsement of the initial bid for a ProTour licence to the UCI and more recently provided a further endorsement of the Pegasus Racing bid for ProContinental status. We supplied those endorsements based on our experience with Chris White and his successful operation of the Fly V Australia and Virgin Blue - RBS Morgans teams.”

With the team having been turned down, plans are up in the air and many riders are thought to be looking elsewhere.

Directeur sportif Henk Vogels told VeloNation in recent days that the team would continue with a Continental licence and hoped that many of its riders would stay on board. Cycling Australia stated that it wasn’t sure how things would pan out, but that it trusted that efforts would be made to help the riders and staff.

“It's too early to comment on what the impact of the decision will be on the riders and staff of the project but we're confident Chris White is doing all he can to achieve the best possible outcomes for his team for 2011.”

The tone contrasts with an interview given to the Age newspaper last week, where Cycling Australia president Klaus Mueller lamented what he said was a lack of interaction and communication.

“One of the unfortunate things, I think, about Pegasus is that they have not fully involved Cycling Australia in the whole process,” he stated then.

“They haven't engaged, they haven't approached Cycling Australia, they haven't kept us informed of what they're doing.”

He also said that the governing body would take action if there were any signs that the team had not run things correctly.

“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 said. “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 … but 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.”

Rival bid preferred?

VeloNation has heard suggestions from several sources that officials in Australia and in the UCI may have preferred to put their backing behind a different setup, a rival of sorts which is aiming to secure ProTeam status in 2012.

Reportedly involving CA head coach Shayne Bannan and backrolled by Australian businessman Gerry Ryan, it is aiming to be the first team from the country to ride the Tour de France.

Ryan said in a recent TV interview that he expected that a big Australian pro outfit would be in existence by 2012. He didn’t say how big his stake would be in it. He owns the caravan company Jayco, which sponsors both the Herald Sun Tour and the Australian track team for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Pegagus Sports were left in a difficult financial position when chief backer George Gillett Jr. walked away. However White and Vogels both stated that sufficient funds were in place when making the most recent Pro Continental licence application, with the latter telling VeloNation that a major European backer would also sign up once the licence was awarded.

The UCI’s announcement that the team’s application had been refused was short on detail, with no reason been given as yet for the decision. Until an explanation is given, there will be plenty of theories as to why the team lost out.

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