The Katusha-Alpecin riders and staff have finally been paid their outstanding wages for October. However, it remains unclear whether the funds were provided by the UCI bank guarantee or if a sponsor stepped in and solved the team’s cash flow problems. Last week Cyclingnews reported that a leading sponsor failed to meet their financial obligations.
The full roster of riders and staff were paid during the week with confirmation coming from both the team’s lawyer, Alexis Schoeb, and sources around the team. Riders and staff had been warned not to talk to the media after news broke of a delay in October wages, while the UCI confirmed last week that they were looking at releasing the team’s bank guarantee to meet the squad’s shortfall in funds.
However, it’s unclear from Schoeb, the UCI and leading sponsor Alpecin if the payments were resolved by the bank guarantee or if the team received the missing sponsorship funds.
“These are financial issues and contract based issues. We strictly don’t talk about contract details in the end,” a spokesperson for Alpecin told Cyclingnews when asked why riders were not paid on time.
“It’s a team issue in the end and this is why we as a sponsor, we are a bit outside. Since we came into cycling in 2015 we don’t talk about these things.”
When asked if the delay could be squarely down to a withheld payment from Alpecin, the spokesperson responded:
“From Alpecin’s perspective, there won’t be any information about this. I can only repeat that at the moment, this is what we can say. For the moment.”
Cyclingnews reached out to both Schoeb and the UCI for further comment but both parties have not yet replied.
Last week Schoeb told Cyclingnews that the delay was, “due to cash availability at the end of the season. I don’t think that there’s any issue at this stage. Riders and staff have been informed of the delay and been told that it’s just a matter of one or two days – so Friday or Monday at the latest.
"It depends on the payment from the sponsors. Some sponsors have an arrangement where they pay at the end of the month so it puts you in a cash flow situation. Obviously everyone will be paid. This isn’t something that I like or find personally acceptable but everyone is aware of the situation."
The Katusha Alpecin team are set to fold at the end of the year with Israel Cycling Academy taking over the WorldTour licence.