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The CCC team, whose roster includes the likes of Greg Van Avermaet, Ilnur Zakarin, and Patrick Bevin, has joined the list of pro outfits making major financial cuts amid the coronavirus crisis, and now faces an uncertain future. Sportowe Fakty reports that the founder of Polish footwear company CCC is looking to pull out of the contract that funds the team.
Media reports in recent days have suggested that the team’s main sponsor, Polish footwear company CCC, was in financial difficulties due to widespread lockdowns. Giant Bicycles, another major partner, is also facing shortfall issues.
In a video conference on Thursday, Greg Van Avermaet told a group of reporters that included CyclingTips that the team was discussing cuts. On Friday, following reports in Het Laatste Nieuws and other outlets, the team confirmed that most staff have been told their contracts are cancelled. Riders are taking major pay cut, reportedly of 80 percent.
“The decision to make widespread cuts has been a painful process and one that we did not foresee even a matter of weeks ago,” team president Jim Ochowicz said in a statement. “The economic implications of the Covid-19 pandemic have had a drastic effect on business for our title sponsor CCC and like other professional cycling teams, we are now faced with a lack of cash flow due to unforeseen reductions in our sponsorships.
“This aspect of our business is beyond our control. We know there will be no racing until June at the earliest but the situation is constantly evolving and right now, we can only act on a short-term basis. In order to have the budget to race should the season start again, we have had to temporarily suspend all but a handful of staff and heavily reduce rider salaries. As soon as racing can resume, we hope to be in a position to reinstate as many support staff as possible and reevaluate our budget.”
Other teams, like Lotto Soudal and Bahrain-McLaren, have taken similar measures, but for CCC it is unclear what the future holds even should racing return. Dariusz Milek, founder of the company that sponsors the team, said that the Polish-based footwear company must cut costs dramatically.
“We have a contract that obliges us for this year and for the next, but the company must and wants to withdraw from it at a low cost, because the cyclists simply do not provide services,” Milek said, according to Sportowe Fakty. “We don’t have 265 racing days at Eurosport, they canceled Giro d’Italia … they also cancel Tour de France. So it makes no sense to invest in this sponsorship, since we have no benefit from it.”
According to Het Laatste Nieuws, the team is holding a crisis meeting on Friday.