In the wake of numerous other WorldTour teams cutting rider and staff salary in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, EF Pro Cycling have confirmed to Cyclingnews they are negotiating a similar agreement with their riders and staff members.
The American team said it is negotiating on a one-by-one basis with the 30-rider squad and staff, which includes Tour of Flanders winner Alberto Bettiol, 2018 Tour de France runner-up Rigoberto Urán, Tejay van Garderen and talented young Colombian Dani Martinez.
"We are discussing things on an individual basis with each rider," said team boss Jonathan Vaughters. "We need their sign-off and willingness to make this work."
Team sponsor Education First, a global education company which offers educational travel, language learning, cultural exchanges and remote learning, has been hit hard by the pandemic, cancelling tours, cutting jobs and reportedly moving thousands of students to online programs every day during the outbreak.
As a result of this impact, EF Pro Cycling is looking to cut costs for the 2020 season, with months of racing and sponsor exposure already lost and more to come ahead of possible return in late summer, with the Tour de France pencilled in for August 29-September 20.
"The travel and education industries have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 virus, and as a result we need to implement cost-saving measures," said Vaughters.
"The conversations have been very productive. Our riders have put the team above their own self-interests, and I'm very grateful for that."
A number of other top-level teams have made similar moves in recent weeks. Mitchelton-Scott, CCC Team, Astana, Lotto Soudal and Bahrain-McLaren have all imposed salary cuts or deferments of varying degrees.
The sport's professional riders' association, the CPA, has accepted in principle that salaries may have to be cut, though CPA president Gianni Bugno has said that the union will evaluate cuts on a case-by-case basis.
This week the UCI confirmed that the CPA and AIGCP teams association had signed an agreement so that team can "take measures necessary for their survival, while preserving the rights of their riders and staff in this uncertain context."
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