VeloClub is CyclingTips’ membership program which brings us closer to our members, and connects likeminded cycling enthusiasts.
by Mark Zalewski
December 13, 2016
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: British Cycling funding cut by £4 million; Stig Broeckx continues to make small improvements; Team Smartstop riders finally to get 2015 wages; Niels Albert worries two-man race not exciting enough for spectators; Viacheslav Ekimov nominated for president of Russian Cycling Federation; GreenEdge teams will be ORICA-Scott in 2017; Unitedhealthcare names rosters for 2017; Avanti IsoWhey and SwissWellness merge to create IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness team; Canadian development team Silber reloads with young talent; BMC announces kit, tire sponsorship changes; Field, Payton win cyclocross British Cycling National Trophy; Rider recruited by Wiggins via Instagram; ‘Off the Beaten’ Path adventure cycling film.
A civil lawsuit against the owners of the management company that ran the American Team Smartstop UCI Continental team has been settled out of court, with riders still owed up to half of their 2015 wages set to receive their money. In an unprecedented move the lawsuit was filed on the riders’ behalf by the former CEO of the team’s title sponsor, which had already met all its financial obligations, but felt the need to go above and beyond to make things right.
Travis McCabe and Eric Marcotte were both owed 2015 wages.
The lawsuit settlement will pay out approximately $52,000 to six riders, as well as make clear that the fault was with management company Premier Sports and owner Jamie Bennett, and not “in any way the fault of SmartStop,” which “paid all of its sponsorship fees in a timely manner.”
Bennet had admitted to falling short of 2015 payroll after Smartstop said it would not be renewing for the 2016 season, even though it gave nine months notice, indicating that Bennet’s plan had been to fund part of the 2015 budget with expected 2016 sponsorship dollars. Zach Bell, Rob Britton, Evan Huffman, Travis McCabe, Eric Marcotte and Bobbie Sweeting were all owed back wages.
While teams folding due to lack of or change in sponsorship is unfortunately nothing new, as is the subsequent stiffing of riders and staff of owed wages, the step-in by a sponsor is certainly unique.
“I think it is really important to recognize that, because so often the sponsor gets a bad name in these things; people think they abandon the sport or the team,” Zach Bell said, one of the former riders owed money. “This was just the opposite. Yes, their business changed and there was no longer a sponsorship, but Micheal and his team made sure that the work and project they started was followed through to completion. It cost them time, money and resources above and beyond their original commitment to ensure that the guys who did the blue-collar work didn’t get left out in the cold by a bad decision. That’s commendable and how you should do business.”
Click through to read more at Cyclingnews.