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by Shane Stokes
October 15, 2015
Photography by Cor Vos
The news Wednesday that Team Colombia will fold came in the same week that accusations were made by sources in Colombia that riders were owed four months salaries.
A team spokesman acknowledged a lag in payments when speaking to CyclingTips on Wednesday.
“When it comes to governmental funds, delays in delivery are part of the business,” he said. “I can tell you that the team is waiting for a payment from Coldeportes, that is reported and expected to be coming in short time.
“After the payment is sealed, the team will be able to regularly settle everything until the end of the year.”
The contract between Coldeportes, which is the Colombian Department of Sport, and the team states that funding will be paid in three tranches.
The first is of 75% of the total amount due for the year, and is then followed by a separate payment of 20% and then a final sum totalling 5%.
It is unclear how much Coldeportes still owes.
The latest development comes a year after a similar delay in salaries was experienced by riders on the team.
This time around, however, Team Colombia will not be seeking a licence from the UCI for the following season, meaning that there is potentially less leverage if some amounts are ultimately left outstanding.
However if there is a shortfall between the money due from Coldeportes and the total salaires owed to the riders, there is a provision which should help protect them, at least partially.
UCI registered teams are required to lodge a bank guarantee in their application for a licence.
UCI regulation 2.16.024 sets out the amount for Pro Continental squads. It states:
‘The total of the guarantee shall represent a quarter of all the gross sums to be paid by the professional continental team to the riders and persons contracted for the operation of the team during the registration year plus the amount of CHF 15,000.’
It means that a period of three months is safeguarded. However, with four months reportedly owed and another two full months until the end of the year, the bank guarantee itself may not be sufficient to settle everything that is due for 2015.
As the issue is an ongoing one, the UCI declined to comment when contacted by CyclingTips on Wednesday.
Regardless, under its rules, a complaint must to be lodged by one or more riders before the UCI can look into the situation. Until this is done the governing body cannot act.
Last year riders held back from making an official complaint to the UCI. This time around, they will hope it won’t be necessary and that the team honours its commitment before closing things down.
[Thanks to La Ruta del Escarabajo for information about the payment contract between Coldeportes and the team]