Qhubeka-NextHash team boss Douglas Ryder has claimed title sponsor NextHash has failed to pay any money since October, which he says ultimately led to the demise of the WorldTour team.
Speaking in an extensive interview with CyclingTips, Ryder also said that communicating with the cryptocurrency company, who joined the team as title sponsor just before the 2021 Tour de France, is proving extremely difficult now too.
Qhubeka-NextHash finally ended their sponsorship search last month following a period of uncertainty, exiting the WorldTour after the UCI refused the team their license for 2022.
However, Ryder discusses how three sponsors failed to fulfil their payments to Qhubeka, with NextHash's lack of funding having the most significant impact.
Ryder told CyclingTips: "Our cash flow issues due to sponsors not paying on time, or at all, has really impacted on us.
“Had NextHash paid in full, the issues we had with the other two partners wouldn't have been a major impact. We would have been OK."
NextHash came on board before the Tour de France, at a time when the South African team were concerned with their future prospects on the WorldTour peloton.
Despite the company initially providing Qhubeka with the security of a long-term future, Ryder claims the team received less than half of what NextHash's sponsorship deal required them to pay, before a complete failure of payment since October.
Ryder also asserts that NextHash owner Ana Benčič has not corresponded with the team in regards to payment, making the situation a seemingly impossible one.
“That hurt our staff and riders. We had delays, delays and more delays, but we didn't hear from Ana Benčič. Of her team, yes, but I haven't spoken to her for a month.
“The last call that I actually had with her was in early, early, early December, where a lot of commitments were made. A timeline was put together to pay the remaining instalments. And that hasn’t materialised since then. We’re still waiting and trying to get in touch. We’ve had challenges getting in touch with her.”
Looking back on the relationship with NextHash, Ryder reveals any doubts he had in the initial phases of the partnership were quickly reassured by "a credible sports marketing agency" who had also put the two in contact to begin with.
Problems soon emerged though, with staff and rider salaries delayed just two months after NextHash had joined the team. While he expresses his disappointment at the situation though, Ryder makes clear that he doesn't believe NextHash intentionally signed a contract with the team in order to deceive them.
“I don’t believe people intentionally sign contracts because they want to be dishonest or they don’t want to pay. I don’t believe it.
“I don’t believe anybody’s like that – I mean, I’ve never come across anybody like that.”
Cycling Weekly has been unable to find a suitable contact at NextHash.
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