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V Australia's withdrawal forces controversial team to shut down
Chris White's Pegasus project, reduced to running in the form of a UCI Continental team V Australia in 2011, has ridden its last race with management resigned to not continuing beyond the current season.
Pegasus Racing's contract with V Australia was renewed in May this year but in September the airline informed White that financial sponsorship would not continue for 2012. A financial settlement between the two parties is currently being negotiated.
Cyclingnews has been aware that there has been a question mark over the team's future for some months however with the UCI and Cycling Australia due to announce the list of Continental squads for the coming season within the next week, Pegasus will be notable in its omission.
Sources close to the team told Cyclingnews that riders were told prior to the final stage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour on October 16 – a criterium where Jonathan Cantwell was a pre-race favourite – that they should start looking for a ride for 2012 and that remaining payments would need be accessed via the team's bank guarantee through Cycling Australia.
According to UCI regulations:
If the continental team raises an objection to the payment of the money to the creditor, the national federation shall pay the sum at issue into a special account and shall subsequently distribute it in accordance with any agreement reached between the parties or according to an enforceable legal decision.
If the debt submitted exceeds a sum equal to 15 percent of the annual contractual benefits, only a total amount corresponding to 15 percent of the annual contractual benefits shall be paid out in the first instance. The acknowledged balance of the debt may be paid from the global guarantee on condition that the latter would not be exhausted at the end of its period of validity. In the event that there are several creditors, the available balance of the guarantee will be allocated proportionally between them.
Cyclingnews has contacted White on numerous occasions in recent days however he is yet to return any calls.
Pegasus Racing was the holding company behind the Fly V Australia team which rose to prominence in 2009, originally partnered with the Successful Living outfit, ran by US dual Olympic medallist, Steve Hegg. While that relationship dissolved, Fly V continued alone until the end of 2010.
Days prior to announcing that he was working on a bid to secure Australia's first UCI ProTour licence for the 2011 season, White registered Pegasus Sports with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission which all riders, director sportifs, medical staff, mechanics and team bus driver's would be contracted to should the bid to join cycling's top tier or a ProContinental licence be successful.
Unable to secure financial support, the Pegasus project went belly up at the end of January and what remained was consolidated back into Pegasus Racing, while the team was marketed as BPM Pro Cycling. V Australia continued to race domestically, as well as in the United States and Asia although failed to reach the heights of previous years in terms of race results.
It is understood that White intended to apply for a Continental Licence for the 2012 season and an application was lodged under BPM Pro Cycling but unable to secure financial backing missed the December 10 deadline with Cycling Australia.
Of the 2011 V Australia roster, some riders have been able to find new teams for 2012. Hayden Brooks (ATS-Eclipse), Jonathan Cantwell (Saxo Bank), Zach Davies (Team Exergy), Michael Freiberg (Jayco-AIS), Aaron Kemps (Champion Systems), Scott Law (An Post Sean Kelly Team), Peter McDonald (Plan B Racing), Cam Peterson (ATS-Eclipse), Darren Rolfe (ATS-Eclipse), Taylor Sheldon (Competitive Cyclist Racing Team), Sean Sullivan (unknown), Bernard Sulzberger (Raleigh), Nick Walker (retired), Johnnie Walker (ATS-Eclipse), Chris Winn (Horizon-Panache).