Philip Deignan (Cervélo TestTeam) has criticised the team for the manner in which they decided to close their men’s Pro Continental outfit. The squad’s management yesterday confirmed that the team would fold at the end of the year, leaving a large proportion of their riders struggling to find teams. Deignan was notified in a team meeting two days ago.
“We’re all pretty shocked about it,” Deignan told Cyclingnews.
“It wasn’t something that we were expecting. We know that it was strange that there were no signings in August but the team were saying they wanted to see if they were ProTour and what the budget would be and how many riders they were going to need.
“So we were expecting changes but I don’t think anyone was expecting the team to stop. We’re shocked and disappointed that the management have left it this late to tell everyone about it.”
The riders at the Vuelta were called into a meeting two days ago where there fate was read out by a directeur sportif, who had been sent an email from the management.
“We haven’t heard from them and we’ve not had any explanation. We’re all pretty disappointed. We had no explanation but the obvious reason seems down to money. But the riders are in the dark the whole time, we’re the last ones to know about these things. You hear stories and rumours but we were just trying to focus on the racing in Spain.”
“There were a few things on the internet and two days ago we had a meeting at the Vuelta with all the staff here. The directeur here was sent an email saying the team would stop by 31st of December. So we had a meeting and that’s where we found out, so it wasn’t too long before it was made public.”
Deignan has had a difficult season, leaving him in a less than ideal position when it comes to finding a new contract. A knee injury disrupted his spring, while a viral infection ruled him out for several more months. However, the Irishman had a successful season in 2009, culminating in a stage win in the Vuelta and his agent is already in talks with several teams.
“I’ve had a really bad season. I had an injury and viral infection all season that wasn’t diagnosed until last week. I had a really good season last year so at the moment my manager is talking to a couple of teams so hopefully we can get something sorted."
For now, Deignan and his Vuelta teammates have closed ranks as they try and focus on the next three weeks of racing.
“We’re all just trying to cope as best we can. We’re all trying to stay focused but it’s difficult. A lot of the staff here have families and mortgages and there’s over 50 people involved. We’re trying go work together.”