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December 15, 2015
Photography by By Cult Energy
Last week brought news that Team Cult – Stolting Group was losing the first of those two sponsors, with the Danish company quitting the squad it had backed since 2013.
The company’s founder Brian Sorensen accused Stölting Cycling GmbH of breaking an agreement to purchase equipment from Cult Energy Pro Cycling, the previous owners, and also blamed it for the non-payment of rider salaries in November.
As a result he said that Cult could not have “a close cooperation with a company whose morality is not consistent with our values.”
Now, speaking to TV2 Sport, two of the team’s riders have admitted they are very worried.
“Of course I feel cheated,” says Lasse Norman Hansen. He moved to the team after a two years with Cannondale-Garmin and wanted to move his career to a new level.
“I thought I had finally found me a good team and to have kick-started my career again,” he said. “So I actually feel that I have been screwed. What the hell can I do? I can not do a damn thing now.”
Last week Stölting Cycling GmbH rejected Sorensen’s criticisms, saying that the collaboration officially starts on January 1st. It added that it “believes that CULT is simply searching for an exit to the sponsorship because it cannot afford to fulfil its commitment.”
It said that it was working to try to find a solution to ensure the team continues.
Norman Hansen acknowledged this, but also recognised that there is a lot of money involved.
“If you had asked me before yesterday morning and the meeting, I was optimistic,” he said. “But right now I’m probably the most pessimistic.”
Another of the team’s riders, Rasmus Quaade, also voiced concerns.
“It is something really shit. We are they now in a situation where it gets really difficult to find new team. If the teams are full, budgets are spent.”
The Stölting Group has told the riders that there will be an update on Wednesday.
One of those waiting to know if there will be a satisfactory resolution is Gerald Ciolek, the 2013 Milan-San Remo winner. He is due to race for the team after three years with MTN-Qhubeka, and is arguably the biggest name on the squad.
“A change is always a new possibility and a new chance,” he told CyclingTips last month. “I’ll get all the support and opportunities I need to perform on a high level.”
Hopefully this will still be the case.