EF Pro Cycling renew all riders with expiring contracts following Covid-19 season

Team boss Jonathan Vaughters has said the decision to give one-year extensions was 'only right' after being forced to introduce pay cuts earlier in the year

EF Pro Cycling have offered one-year deals to all riders on their roster who had expiring contracts at the end of 2020.

The WorldTour team had been forced to cut their riders’ salaries at the height of the coronavirus pandemic after races began to get cancelled as the world went into lockdown, and now team boss Jonathan Vaughters has told Cycling News it was “only right” to repay the faith the riders showed in the team by offering them employment for another year.

“The 2020 season was unprecedented across the sport and beyond. Our riders worked with management to put the preservation of the team above themselves, taking wage reductions in order to help the team through the season and into the next. It was only right to offer all riders who took reductions contracts for the 2021 season,” Vaughters said.

The rescheduled 2020 season disrupted the usual transfer merry-go-round, with riders usual shopping around for new deals before the transfer window officially opens on August 1, which this year was the date WorldTour racing returned with Strade Bianche.

>>> Julian Alaphilippe says he doesn’t blame motorbike rider for his Tour of Flanders crash

This coupled with the economic recession caused by the lockdown, which threatens the future of a number of teams, and by extension their riders, to make things much more uncertain for those involved in the sport.

US national champion Alex Howes confirmed on Twitter he had been given a one-year extension, with Lachlan Morton also re-signing for 2021.

The team’s Dutch rider Moreno Hofland expressed gratitude for the understanding shown by the team.

“I will stay with EF Pro Cycling. At the beginning of September the team announced they would give everyone who wanted it another chance,” Hofland told BN De Stem. “They are reasonable because of all the coronavirus problems, I think that’s great. For me, that coronavirus break went completely wrong so it’s nice that a team looks at it like that.”

Their wage bill will be reduced slightly by the fact both Michael Woods and Sep Vanmarcke will be moving to Israel Start-Up Nation next year, while Dani Martínez will join Ineos and Tanel Kangert departs for Mitchelton-Scott.

Meanwhile, on the way in, is Danish rider Michael Valgren, who is expected to move over from NTT.