Geox-TMC under threat due to sponsor dissatisfaction with Gianetti
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Geox-TMC under threat due to sponsor dissatisfaction with Gianetti

by Shane Stokes at 10:55 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Team backers annoyed squad didn’t gain ProTeam licence

Denis MenchovWith the future of the Pegasus Sports team very undecided, another team is facing the prospect of collapse after it too failed to get a UCI ProTeam licence for 2011. The importance of the top-ranked UCI registration is such that it now guarantees participation in races such as the Tour de France and, without that guarantee, the sponsors of the Geox-TMC team are unhappy.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, both backers are considering walking away from the team altogether unless Mauro Gianetti steps down from his current position of general manager. It is thought that he may have previously made assurances to both backers that the team would get into the Tour de France, only to discover too late that it was ranked outside the UCI’s top 15, and thus not certain to get the licence.

So it transpired, with Geox-TMC being passed over.

The team had paid a large sum to Denis Menchov and Carlos Sastre, €2 million and €1.4 million respectively, representing almost half of the team’s €8 million budget. Geox had handed over €2.5 million of that, while La Gazzetta reports that TMC gave €2 million.

However even with the two big name riders on board, the complicated system used by the UCI to rank teams meant that it was further back than had originally been expected.

Several teams were critical of the new system after it was unveiled , saying it had not been properly explained to them.

The preferred solution for Geox-TMC is that Gianetti stands aside and someone else – possibly former Mapei team manager Alvaro Crespi – takes over his role. But with the former having ran the team for several years, he is resisting any efforts to remove him.

La Gazzetta suggests that a final decision will be made in the next fortnight. At that point in time, it will be clear if the team will continue, or if the two big backers will try to walk away.

Sastre and Menchov have both said that they are committed to the team; that clearly depends on a budget being in place. Like the Pegasus Sports riders, they would find it very difficult to gain a good slot elsewhere at this late point of the year.

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