The future of the Geox-TMC squad hangs in the balance after its principal sponsor failed to provide the bank guaranteed required for the team’s registration with the UCI ahead of the 2012 season.
The team later confirmed that Geox will cease its sponsorship at the end of the year, but the team's management company could appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for compensation from the shoe-maker. The team did not confirm it will cease to exist in 2012, but the lack of a bank guarantee will make it impossible to get a UCI license.
In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, Club Deportivo Bike Live, the holding company that manages the team, said that “in breach of contractual obligations, the Geox company has inexplicably refused to deposit the bank guarantee required to complete the registration of the team on [sic] the UCI.
“Club Deportivo Bike Live will ask Geox for the execution of contracts and some compensation regarding damages before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.
Thursday, October 20th marked the deadline for teams to submit the contracts of at least 15 of their riders to the UCI. While Club Deportivo Bike Live confirmed that it had forwarded these contracts to the UCI as part of its licence application, the team acknowledged that its future is in severe doubt.
“The team of Bike Live may not be able to continue for these reasons,” read the statement.
Although the team convinced Vuelta a España winner Juan José Cobo to pen a new contract in recent days, doubts had begun to surface about Geox-TMC’s viability when it was not listed among the initial applicants for WorldTour licences on October 5.
Geox came on board as sponsor of Mauro Gianetti’s former Footon-Servetto squad at the beginning of the 2011 season, but the arrival of Denis Menchov and Carlos Sastre failed to secure WorldTour status, and the team had to rely on wildcard invitations to the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.