The UCI says up to five teams are experiencing significant financial turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with President David Lappartient saying he hopes all squads make it to the end of the season.
Lappartient did not specify which teams he was talking about, but CCC, Lotto-Soudal, Mitchelton-Scott, Bahrain-McLaren and Astana have all had to either reduce wages or temporarily lay off support staff during this non-racing period.
“We know that three, four, five teams have more problems than other teams,” Lappartient told ANP. “We hope they all reach the end of the season.”
Greg Van Avermaet’s CCC have been particularly affected as the Polish shoe company said sponsorship would have to be reduced or stopped as their share price fell to 90 per cent of its 2018 level.
The Belgian admits to having had sleepless nights but is now more confident a compromise can be found to allow the team to continue until the end of the season and will then try and find new backers for 2021.
“I have to say I haven’t slept well in a few nights. This is not a situation where you just crawl into your bed and close your eyes,” Van Avermaet told Het Nieuwsblad. “Nobody wanted it this way and nobody has bad will [towards each other] now.
“If we manage to compromise, we’ll see what happens next year. Hopefully, we can start a new project, although it is not an obvious time to find sponsorship.”
Teams aren’t the only ones feeling the pinch, with the UCI also coming under financial pressure due to the lost income caused by cancelled or postponed races and the uncertainty that still surrounds the 2020 Worlds set to take place in Aigle-Martigny, where cycling’s governing body is headquartered.
“Our union is going through a crisis that we have not known since World War II,” Lappartient said. The Road Worlds are currently scheduled for September 20-27, starting on the same day the Tour de France ends, with the Giro d’Italia then beginning on October 3.
Spanish newspaper Marca reports the UCI are looking into the possibility of pushing the Championships back to November and moving the race to the Middle East, with Oman, Qatar or the UAE as options.
World Championships’ hosting fees reportedly bring in around £9 million to the UCI, their biggest singular revenue source, with the Road Worlds the most lucrative of the disciplines.