Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

May 27, 2016

In today’s CT Daily News Digest: Another Giro stage win for Etixx as Trentin snatches victory from Moser in Pinerolo; Theuns takes home win in Belgium Tour; Two years later, Taylor Phinney returns to US national TT championships a race favorite — and a changed man; Women’s US National Road Championships; Men’s US National Road Championships; Canyon Bicycles officially announces US expansion; Questionable past of Bahrain prince looking to fund WorldTour team; Riis wants to return to cycling ‘the right way’; Rally Cycling signs Sepp Kuss; Fabio Taborre given four-year ban for doping; US Olympic team training with smart glasses; An Post Rás stage 5 highlights; Incycle Leadout at the Giro

Questionable past of Bahrain prince looking to fund WorldTour team

by CyclingTips

Being a completely sponsor-backed sport, cycling is much more affected by economic trends than many other sports. Where this is most evident is team sponsorship and funding, with team budgets or existence based on marketing line items. However, some of the top teams in the world derive their funding from a patronage set-up, rather than a traditional marketing sponsorship.

Both Tinkoff and IAM Cycling are prime examples of this, with Oleg Tinkoff and Michel Thétaz running teams more out of hobby than a need for advertising products. But even that can be a tenuous situation with both benefactors ending their teams this year.

Abu Dhabi Tour 2015 - stage 1

Vincenzo Nibali is linked with the new Bahrain-backed pro team.

Another patron of the sport is looking to enter the fray — Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain. And while Middle Eastern wealth may seem like a welcome funding infusion that the sport desperately needs, particularly at the WorldTour level, a report on Deadspin argues that this money is tainted.

The article cites accusations of torture and human rights abuses against anti-government protestors.

In the aftermath of 2011’s pro-democracy protests in Bahrain, several demonstrators accused Sheikh Nasser of a litany of abuses. During the protests, he went on state-sponsored TV and threatened protestors, telling them they had “nowhere to escape to.” According to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, he was also personally involved in the torture of prisoners, including elderly people and foreign citizens.

Cycling Weekly reports that the prince will unveil his new team at the Tour de France in July, with Vincenzo Nibali as the team’s leader. The article quotes and insider saying the budget will be modest in comparison to the prince’s wealth, between €15 to €18 million.