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Several WorldTour teams in trouble amid COVID-19 pandemic

CCC loses title sponsor, Astana on the ropes

The prospect of a short, dense WorldTour season starting on August 1 has offered a glimmer of hope to several teams who have suffered in the COVID-19 schedule interruption that began March 14 when Paris-Nice came to an early close. But it might be too late for CCC, which will lose its title sponsor at the end of the season.

CCC’s plight was reported back in early April, with Polish footwear company founder Dariusz Miłek explaining why the team’s title sponsor might end its financial support a year early. Canadian legend Steve Bauer joined the team this season as sporting director.

Team manager Jim Ochowitz at least has the knowledge that Giant will continue as bike sponsor, but not as title sponsor. CCC was BMC for the first 12 years of its existence and now Ochowitz must seek another backer.

CCC riders and staff, along with that of EF Pro Cycling, Lotto-Soudal, Bahrain-McLaren, Astana and Mitchelton-Scott, have either all accepted reduced salaries due to the emergency or are in negotiations to do so. CCC, Lotto-Soudal, Astana and Mitchelton-Scott all have women’s teams that have gone through the same process.

Astana team principal Alexandre Vinokourov said on Monday that his team would disappear without racing in 2020. Canadian Hugo Houle, along with Jakob Fuglsang and Angel Lopez, have taken 30% pay cuts. In early March, the cycling world learned that Astana riders hadn’t been paid in two months, a repeat of a situation from 2018.

In an interview with Dutch media De Telegraaf, UCI head David Lappartient acknowledged that the pandemic has put a tremendous financial strain on professional cycling and hoped that all teams would make it to the end of the season.