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by Shane Stokes
February 24, 2018
Bauhaus wins stage 3 of the Abu Dhabi Tour; Bastinelli wins stage 2 of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana; Kittel: ‘I was just one 1000th of a second too late’; Report: Astana in danger of folding due to financial issues; Viviani believes defence of race lead is unlikely; Brailsford takes up permanent role at Team Sky; Lobato signs for Nippo-Vini Fantini; New 100 mile closed-road event confirmed for UK; Video: Flanders Classics’ theme; Video: 360 degree cameras in the peloton
Riders have gone unpaid, race travel is dipping into savings, and if funding for Team Astana doesn’t come in soon, the team is in danger of shutting down, team manager Alexander Vinokourov told vesti.kz.
Though contracts for 30 riders were signed last year, the team’s funding for the 2018 season has yet to materialize, according to Vinokourov.
“Today we are very worried that our team is under threat of closure,” Vinokourov said.
“We have not received financing for this year. We go to the races from the savings, the guys do not get their salaries. The situation is simply critical.”
Astana is in its 13th year as a professional program, and this isn’t its first funding crisis. Riders and staff went unpaid in early 2009, during the height of the global financial crisis. The team came close to a suspension from the UCI, but was able to provide financial guarantees to finish the season just in time to race the Tour de France.
“There are 30 riders who have signed contracts, we have obligations to them,” Vinokourov said. “There are more than 50 people on the team’s staff, including coaches, doctors, masseurs, mechanics and so on. Flights, accommodation at races, — all these costs are urgent, any postponement of funding will simply stop the work of the team, and ahead of the most important starts of the season. All this will inevitably lead to the closure of the project.”
CyclingTips reached out to Astana and the UCI for comment but has not yet received a response.