Flavio Becca, the owner of RadioShack-Leopard, will only pay for RadioShack-Leopard’s WorldTour races for the remainder of 2013.
“We have to keep doing the WorldTour races,“ press officer Tim Vanderjeugd told Nieuwsblad. “If we don’t we’ll lose our license.” For riders like Stijn Devolder, Jan Bakelants and Maxime Monfort this has implications.
The fact Becca won’t pay for races other than the necessary ones means RadioShack-Leopard will only compete in the GP Plouay, GP Québec, GP Montréal, Il Lombardia and the Tour of Beijing. For the other races like Paris-Brussels, Paris-Tours and the Tour of Britain, RadioShack-Leopard won’t send a team.
“It’s all down to money,” Vanderjeugd told Nieuwsblad. “Not riding the WorldTour races is not an option because it’ll mean we’ll lose the license.”
This isn’t the first time Becca has failed to meet his financial obligations. Johan Bruyneel paid for the team’s salaries when Becca couldn’t in March 2012. The Belgian manager confirmed to Cyclingnews that he still hasn’t been fully repaid the 1,5 million Euro loan, even though a court has ordered Becca to do so.
Becca started the team back in 2011 with his own money and hoped to secure a sponsor for his squad with both Schleck brothers and Fabian Cancellara. He failed to do so and a merger with RadioShack became necessary. This year he sold his WorldTour license to Trek.
For some riders the fact they won’t be able to ride any other races than those on WorldTour level has serious implications. For Stijn Devolder, who was announced as a new Trek signing yesterday, it means his season will end much sooner than expected.
“Because I fell ill in Eneco Tour I was planning to try and get in shape for the World Championships by starting in the Tour of Britain. But we are not even riding there anymore,” he told the Gazet van Antwerpen.
Devolder’s season will therefore end in a few weeks time. “I will do some kermesses, like the one in Bavikhove where I come from, and then it’s time for an early vacation. With Quick Step and Vacansoleil-DCM I rode on through October so it’s not a bad thing I get to quit early this year,” the Belgian champion explained.
For other Belgian World Championships team hopefuls like Jan Bakelants and Maxime Monfort the change in schedule doesn’t sit well. “After the races in Canada I will have to do a training period to try and keep fit,” Monfort told Nieuwsblad. “It’s not ideal but Belgium’s coach Carlo Bomans knows what I am doing. I have to make up for the lack of racing by extra training.”
Tour de France stage winner Jan Bakelants has found another option. He will ride the GP Wallonie on September 18 with a Belgian U23 team.
RadioShack-Leopard currently competes in the Vuelta and won a stage there with Chris Horner. The team also holds the red leader’s jersey.