The 2011 Australian under 23 champion Benjamin Dyball is one of many riders who have been left high and dry for the 2016 season after the new Dynamo Cover Pro Cycling team collapsed on Friday.
Dyball (previously with Avanti Racing), compatriots Benjamin Hill (Charter Mason) and Jesse Kerrison (BMC Development Team) plus the Kiwi Nick Kergozou are the riders affected from the southern hemisphere.
Also left reeling by the news about the Continental team are the Britons Owen James, Stuart Balfour, Tom Smith and Ollie Maxwell, Frenchmen Maxime and Mathieu le Lavandier plus David Chopin, and the Irish quintet Mark Dowling, Philip Lavery, Ryan Reilly and brothers Sean and Mark Downey.
The team was originally set to race under the We Are Wales banner, as announced in 2015, and stated that riding the Tour de France by 2019 was a goal. It changed the planned title from We Are Wales to Dynamo Cover Pro Cycling in recent months, and was due to begin competing in 2016.
Eifion Weinzweig was the founder, while the planned sponsor Dynamo Cover is a cycling insurance firm that was founded two years ago by Alex Mills, a former candidate on the BBC show The Apprentice.
On Friday Weinzweig sent an email to team staff and riders breaking the news that the project was not going ahead in 2016.
That message states:
I regret to say that the team project has to be delayed by 1 year. The reason is that mid-week our sponsor agent received unexpected legal threat amounting to £5million and has pulled out leaving us with no options. This has resulted in a postponement of sponsorship funds, until the threat is cleared. The threat will last into 2016, however I intend to continue with the project aiming now for the 2017 season.
I thank you for your support and I can’t apologise enough for the terrible inconvenience this will cause you, and I hope you understand.
Contacted by CyclingTips, Weinzweig said he would not comment on the matter.
The team was due to be managed by the Breton Yann Dejan, a past manager of Team Geumsan Chrono in Asia. He was to be assisted by former French pro Benoit Salmon, who was the best young rider in the 1999 Tour de France and who had been working with VC La Pomme Marseille, plus Sébastien Duclos. The latter has been running the Attack Gusto Cycling Team in Asia.
The 1987 Tour de France winner Stephen Roche was to act as a mentor, and former Tour de France professionals Joel Pelier and Bruno Cornillet were also due to have an input.
Like many others, Dejan was devastated by the news. He said he was told about the situation by Weinzweig on Friday, who said that there was a legal issue between two sponsoring agents and that the team would stop as a result.
Dejan said that he controlled the sporting aspect of the team, and that Weinzweig had responsibility for the financial aspect.
“We can’t do anything, we don’t have the money,” he stated, speaking of the French contingent. “There are 25 people involved with the team and I’ve had to try to explain what’s happening to them today.”
The team was originally aiming to seek UCI Continental registration via British Cycling. However complications arose with that, and it was due instead to register with Cycling Ireland.
Contacted by CyclingTips, CI CEO Geoff Liffey said that the deadline for UCI registration was December 10th, yet the papers necessary to apply for that licence had not been received.
The reason for that is now clear.
A member of team staff echoed Dejan in saying he was devastated by the news. “We were assured everything was certain to go ahead, that the team would be racing in 2016. Now we are told this, that because of some problem between two companies it will stop.
“This is bullshit. Many people have changed jobs or teams to be involved with this project. I am very, very disappointed.”