A week and a half ago in Kuala Lumpur, previous title sponsor Telekom Malaysia announced its commitment to the Tour de Langkawi race in 2006, continuing a partnership that began since the race's inception a decade ago. However, Cyclingnews has since discovered prize money is still owed to four of the five best-performing teams at this year's race, among them the team of race winner Ryan Cox, which - according to UCI rules - prevents next year's race from going ahead. Anthony Tan reports.
"If some of the teams like us haven't been paid, then it's not really fair," Ryan Cox said to Cyclingnews, this year's Tour de Langkawi victor trying his best to relax with the season now at a close. "It's not fair that they can do the race again if the bills haven't been paid."
Barloworld appointed two riders from their team to try and claim monies owed to them, which Cox claims to be around 2,000 Euro per rider. As well as the general classification, Barloworld won the mountains and teams classifications and the stage to Genting Highlands, where the 26 year-old South African took control of the race three days from the race finish on February 6, 2005.
"We're missing a fair bit of coin from that race," said Cyclingnews diarist Trent Wilson, one of the seven men who represented the team from Colombia-Selle Italia. Before the team's star rider Jose Rujano finished on the podium at the Giro d'Italia, the Venezuelan finished second overall to Cox at the Tour de Langkawi. American Pro Continental Team Navigators Insurance is also in the same boat, according to team manager Ed Beamon: "I'm square with everything else, but we still waiting on prize money," he said.
"I keep getting positive responses, but I haven't seen it yet. The guys did pretty good prize money-wise; Panaria cleaned up most of the dollars, but Barloworld and ourselves were probably the other two teams who really did well there, so yeah, it is a fair amount of money."
Wismilak team manager Scott Guyton told Cyclingnews, "I definitely know the prize money hasn't been paid. I definitely know the prize money was supposed to come into my account and it hasn't come yet." Guyton, a former professional from New Zealand, also believed the team had not yet been reimbursed for their airfares to Malaysia, which had to be paid in advance due to logistical problems on behalf of the race organisers. "We were sitting at the airport and we were arguing to get on the plane because we knew we had to get on. I think we ended up buying four business class seats just to get on the fricking plane. As a manager at my first race, it was an absolute nightmare."
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