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Women’s Tour of Scotland folds, leaving teams out of pocket

The Women's Tour of Scotland final stage
The Women's Tour of Scotland (Image credit: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

The organisers of the Women’s Tour of Scotland, Zeus Sports, failed to pay a large number of creditors following the event in August of 2019 and have gone out of business owing teams nearly £75,000, reported Cycling Weekly

The Women’s Tour of Scotland was planned as a three day tour – however the weather led to the cancellation of the opening stage – with 16 teams racing, including Ale Cipollini, Bigla, Valcar-Cylance, Parkhotel Valkenburg and Lotto Soudal Ladies, along with American teams Tibco-SVB and Rally UHC. 

The 2.1 event, which had been planned to run again in 2020, created a fourth UCI-ranked women’s race in Britain, alongside the Women’s Tour, the RideLondon Classique and the Tour de Yorkshire. 

Cycling Weekly said that a creditors report it had seen states the company ceased trading on December 31, entering administration owing creditors a total of £699,753. With only £5,651 in cash to pay them, the report said they were likely to be £694,102 out of pocket. This, combined with other debts to shareholders took the total amount of debt to £855,102, including £74,460 owed to teams in expenses and prize money.

Alison Jackson (Team Tibco-SVB) won what was intended to be the second stage of the Tour of Scotland – but with the weather cancellation became the first – in a high-speed sprint finish in Perth while Bigla's Leah Thomas claimed the final stage win and overall victory. Jackson held onto second on the overall and Stine Borgli took third. 

In addition to the overall win, Bigla also claimed the points with Thomas, the mountains classification thanks to Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and the young riders classification was won by Nikola Noskova. 

The Bigla team itself ceased to exist last year following major financial problems. First Bigla and Katusha withdrew funding amid the COVID-19 pandemic and then French fashion brand Paule Ka stepped in providing what had appeared to be a lifeline for the team that was delivering big results, but it also withdrew.

Alé-Cipollini’s Eugenia Bujak finished fourth overall and the team, now Alé-BTC Ljubljana, are still owed £6,500 (€7,400). In a statement to Cycling Weekly the team said: “On average every year our team collects €70,000 (£60,000) from the fees of race organisers. It was a big trip in terms of travel costs and these were expenses that we incurred and were never reimbursed.

“Organisers usually pay within a couple of months after the race. The Tour of Scotland is the only race that hasn’t paid, at least in the last two years.”

The publication said Zeus managing director, Darren Clayton, was unable to comment on the article.