Lifeline for top SA cycling team?
Douglas Ryder’s team has reportedly secured a sponsor and is looking for riders
The death of Douglas Ryder’s SA-registered WorldTour cycle team may have been greatly exaggerated after it was reported there is a potential backer in the mix and staff have been on a recruiting drive for riders.
The Cyclingnews website reported on Monday on a “last-minute solution”, although the identity of the sponsor has not been made clear. The site reports the budget will be low by WorldTour standards, just €8m, but Ryder has become accustomed to working off the sniff of an oil rag and will be grateful his dream of an African team may yet live on.
The team’s current sponsor, NTT, confirmed in September it would not be renewing its contract at the end of the season.
As Cyclingnews reported, “riders are being approached on the basis that they might race for around the minimum wage, which currently stands at €38,000 for WorldTour riders”.
From the sounds of the recruiting process by the back room staff this may be a return to the days when the team was in the Pro-Continental division. Then called MTN-Qhubeka, Ryder, with Brian Smith as GM, signed up team members whom critics thought were past their best for the 2015 season. Those cyclists included Tyler Farrar of the US, Britain’s Steve Cummings and Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen.
Domenico Pozzovivo, the European and Italian champion, Max Walscheid and Victor Campenaerts, the holder of the world hour record on the track are contracted for 2021
Pozzovivo has been one of the more hopeful of the riders and on Monday told Cyclingnews: “It’s not 100%, but today or in the next day we’ll have confirmation that the team will be here next year. We’re just waiting for the confirmation and if the team continues then I’ll stay. I think it will be WorldTour next year and I’m optimistic and confident in Douglas Ryder.”
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