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Coronavirus: Lotto Soudal riders voluntarily reduce pay

Lotto Soudal’s Philippe Gilbert on the opening stage of the 2020 Volta ao Algarve
Lotto Soudal’s Philippe Gilbert on the opening stage of the 2020 Volta ao Algarve (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Riders for the Lotto Soudal men's team have voluntarily waived part of their wages "in solidarity with staff and sponsors" as cycling grapples with an interrupted season due to the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.

The 27 riders joined with the entire management team and all administrative staff in voluntarily deciding to waive part of their wages until the team races again at a date yet to be determined.

"This decision was taken without discussion and with unanimity," the team said in a statement sent to media. "It was clear to everyone that particular circumstances require particular team actions."

The Belgian WorldTour team said 25 people - the majority of the support staff - including mechanics, soigneurs, physiotherapists and bus drivers, will be temporarily unemployed and rely on benefits provided by the government to bridge the gap until racing begins again.

"All these measures by the Belgian government make it possible for companies to reduce their personnel costs even without having to fire people," the team said. "In less than a month, more than 1 million people have ended up in temporary unemployment in Belgium."

Lotto Soudal was off to a quick start before the season began to unravel, with sprinter Caleb Ewan taking two stage wins at the Tour Down Under in January and Briton Mathew Holmes grabbing a surprise win on the Queen stage up Willunga Hill. 

Ewan took a third stage win of the season at the UAE Tour before that race was canceled, starting a cascade of cancellations and postponements that eventually brought a halt to the season.