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Contrary to reports that Pegasus Sports’ nascent team has disbanded, CEO Chris White affirmed to VeloNews Monday he has every intention to fulfill the UCI requirements required by the December 15 deadline extension and register as a Pro Continental team in 2011.
“Like a lot of teams … a part of our funding was private equity funding. And on Tuesday last week, I was advised there was some retraction in funding out of that space,” White told VeloNews, discussing the decision made by the unnamed principal sponsor to withdraw their commitment to the team.
“What happened last week was that I didn’t have enough time to deal with that situation and adequately complete the process with the UCI, so at the last minute, I had to apply for an extension in time. And I wouldn’t have applied for that extension in time, had I thought we (did not) have a chance of replacing that funding. It’s not a substantial amount of money … well, it depends how you look at it – but it’s achievable.”
In a press release issued early Monday afternoon Australian time, White added: “The current reports by some media outlets that the team has folded are not correct. I have not spoken to any of these media outlets and what is being currently reported is false and most detrimental to a very exciting project. All people associated with the team are aware of the true circumstances and we continue to work towards meeting the UCI deadline.”
“The fact that that has been reported is not good – it’s just not true,” White told VeloNews.
Asked about reports that at least six riders out of the proposed 24-man European-based roster are looking for work elsewhere — rumored to be a U.S.-based team — Pegasus’ CEO replied: “Doesn’t surprise me.”
While White says he has the riders’ commitment up to the December 15 deadline – five days after the UCI gave the official imprimatur to 23 Pro Continental teams – he adds, “It’d be silly not to have a back-up.”
“Yes, I have spoken to all the riders … and I have their commitment. But clearly, from a career-guidance (point of view) … my advice is to have a look at ‘is there another option?’ We’ve got our work to do, I’m confident we’ll get it done, but we’ve got a job ahead of us … and it’d be silly not to have a backup. But right now, everybody’s committed through to our deadline.”
White stated that regardless of the UCI decision with respect to the Pro Continental license application, his Continental team, Fly V Australia, and development squad, RBS Morgans, will continue to operate in 2011.
“V Australia and the RBS Morgans teams are run out of a separate legal entity, a separate structure — and they’re not at risk. They’ll continue, unaffected,” he said.