Rahsaan Bahati has moved to clear up the future of his professional cycling team after a bizarre series of announcements declared the team would cease with immediate effect, which was retracted to some degree by a later release from Bahati himself.
A brief communication from Raha Sports Management announced Tuesday that the squad – Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team – would disband with immediate effect due to financial issues. A later release from Bahati however said the release “was not entirely accurate” and while the team is undergoing reorganisation, all staff and riders will remain with the new team.
While Bahati said the earlier release was made by the company employed to manage the squad, Bahati is a co-founder and partner in Raha Sports Management.
The following is Bahati’s personal release:
“Today's announcement – made by the company I employed to manage the Bahati Foundation pro cycling team – was not entirely accurate. The Bahati Foundation is alive and well, but the race team that supports it will be undergoing a re-organisation.
“Over the past year, I have learned some valuable lessons on how difficult it is to run a foundation and a business. I have never been involved in managing the team. However, by involving myself more in the day-to-day operations of both the race team and the foundation, I am confident that the mission of the Bahati Foundation will continue to be served.
“There's a lot of mis-information flying around right now. It will take some time, but the facts of what has happened and what will be happening to the Bahati Foundation pro cycling team will emerge.
“The team has been, and will continue to be, competitive and race well. This team has been through some hard times, but it has persevered and will move forward in a much more sound and stable fashion. All the riders and staff who have been loyal to the team are moving forward with the new team.
The earlier release from Raha Sports Management read:
“The Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team will cease operations effective immediately. The decision was based on financial considerations.
“The Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team management and riders would like to thank the generous support of our sponsors.”
Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team’s budget for 2010 was hit when Ouch Medical Center withdrew as title sponsor in May. OUCH’s departure came after emails from then Bahati rider Floyd Landis were leaked to media accusing high-profile figures within the sport of being involved in prolonged and prolific doping practices.
OUCH’s Dr. Brent Kay, a longtime Landis supporter, parted ways with the squad at the same time Landis left the team. Kay cited the ‘turbulent media environment’ in the week following the e-mail leak for the decision to cease its sponsorship of the team.
Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team was not implicated in any of Landis’ accusations. Landis’ allegations led to investigations against the accused in the United States of America, Australia, France and Belgium.
The largest case is undoubtedly in the USA where federal authorities have launched an investigation, led by Food and Drug Administration agent Jeff Novitzky, into claims of doping at Lance Armstrong’s former US Postal squad.