Pierre Rolland has become one of the first Cannondale-Drapac riders to voice his surprise and shock after the team's parent company - Slipstream Sports – admitted that they had major financial problems. On Saturday the riders and staff were notified that the team had a shortfall of around $7 million USD to make up within a matter of weeks, if they were to guarantee the team's future for 2018. All riders and staff were told that they could look for new employment immediately.
Rolland, who signed for the team at the start of 2017, and had a contract through to the end of 2018, posted a response to the news on his Facebook page.
"As you saw last night, Cannondale's riders and staff have just been released from any contract. Indeed, I learned the bad news yesterday afternoon. Being under contract until 2018, I let you imagine my surprise ..." he wrote.
In theory Rolland should be able to find a new team in an easier way than some of his teammates. He is a former top-10 finisher in Grand Tours and won a stage of this year's Giro d'Italia. That being said, the Frenchman, 30, admits that a number of WorldTour teams are already full for 2017. UCI rules have pushed for squads to lower their numbers for 2018 and Cannondale-Drapac's 28-rider squad now floods an already congested market with riders already looking for contracts.
Other riders on Cannondale have already been linked with other team. Rigoberto Uran, who signed a three-year deal in early August, has been linked with Astana.
"My approach of team search was something unthinkable until then. Indeed at the time of the Giro, after and during the Tour de France, I was with my agent approached by several trainings with sports projects that corresponded to me. I had to decline all these deals being under contract until 2018. Now I find myself to start these teams again where most have hired rider (s) from my profile," Rolland adds.
"This situation is not adequate and above all unexpected. I hope this story will have a good ending."
Finally, Rolland signs off with his belief that Slipstream CEO, Jonathan Vaughters can find the needed funds to save the team.
"I also have a big thought for all the team of the Cannondale Drapac team and Jonathan Vaughters who I know, gives his maximum."