Lizzy Banks has expressed her dismay, disappointment, and anger over French trend firm Paule Ka’s choice to tug its title sponsorship and funding from Equipe Paule Ka, which has compelled the staff to close down with quick impact.
“(I really feel) vastly let down by Paule Ka, by their administration, their proprietor Matthias [Thoma],” Banks stated in an interview revealed on Eurosport UK.
“He threw us a lifeline and we have been all so grateful and so praise-giving in the direction of him, when he’d come on board in the course of a pandemic and dedicated to us for three-and-a-half years.”
Équipe Paule Ka introduced Friday that they may shut instantly attributable to main monetary issues. Paule Ka stepped in to sponsor the staff on what was introduced by the staff as a three-and-half-year deal by way of 2024, after the earlier sponsors Bigla and Katusha withdrew funding amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, Équipe Paule Ka claimed that the sponsor was late with its first cost in July after which didn’t pay the staff in August, September and October, regardless of a number of assurances that the funds have been on their approach.
Cyclingnews reached out to Paule Ka proprietor, Matthias Thoma, for readability on the corporate’s choice to tug funding from the staff, nevertheless, Cyclingnews understands that the corporate and the staff have agreed to not talk about the matter within the press.
“At the moment my solely remark is that the homeowners of staff and firm are in negotiations a couple of dissolution of the sponsorship settlement,” Thoma informed Cyclingnews, each earlier than and after the staff’s announcement that it will finish.
Cyclingnews understands that Paule Ka had agreed a €800,000 sponsorship package deal for 2020 however left the staff preventing to outlive in the course of the rescheduled season, with staff supervisor Thomas Campana personally funding the staff’s actions to the tune of €300,000.
“Sadly, the staff was left with none funding and my spouse and I supported the staff privately,” Campana stated in an interview with Eurosport. “We needed to see the women racing in an important races; Giro Rosa, World Championships, Classics races, they usually deserved it a lot as a result of they stick collectively … however to the purpose the place we have been merely simply not capable of proceed.”
Paule Ka signed written deal for the rest of 2020, verbally agreed to multi-year help
Campana informed Eurosport that the written settlement between the staff and Paule Ka stipulated that the corporate would fund the staff as UCI Continental staff for the rest of the 2020 season.
That was adopted up with a verbal settlement between the staff and Paule Ka to fund the staff on a multi-year deal going ahead as a Ladies’s WorldTeam by way of 2024.
“Based mostly on the scenario that the staff is a UCI Continental staff, the primary contact that we did with them was for the rest of the season 2020,” Campana informed Eurosport. “And it was verbally agreed that we have been going to deliver the staff to a WorldTour stage for the subsequent 4 years with the intention to obtain the licence from the UCI.”
The staff was scheduled to compete in Tour of Flanders on Sunday, however are actually compelled to finish and cease competitors instantly, and the riders is not going to take the beginning line in Oudenaarde.
Équipe Paule Ka have requested to open their financial institution assure, for the second time this season, to assist pay a proportion of rider salaries. The financial institution assure is a proportion of the staff’s total finances. It acts as a pre-season deposit consisting of 25 per cent of the staff’s payroll which will be accessed in occasions of monetary problem – and make up the cost shortfall.
Banks, Harvey, Thomas left to search out new groups for 2021
The staff has been vastly profitable this season below the brand new Paule Ka model with a stage win on the Giro Rosa from Banks, together with profitable the very best younger rider competitors with Mikayla Harvey, and the staff had podium performances at Strade Bianche with Leah Thomas, and GP de Plouay with Banks.
Banks, Harvey and Thomas have been additionally signed to race for the staff in 2021, nevertheless, the riders will now be compelled to look elsewhere for a staff.
“We paid [sponsorship] again instantly by going on the market and getting some outcomes that are unprecedented for WorldTour groups typically, not to mention a small Continental staff who’ve managed to lift their approach as much as fourth on the earth,” Banks stated within the report revealed on Eurosport.
“We believed that we had every little thing going for us. A small staff preventing and attaining and getting outcomes on the highest stage, and we have been going to proceed to take action for the subsequent three years and we have been working in the direction of being a WorldTour staff. And all of the sudden all of it will get ripped from you.
“I’m so indignant that he [Matthias Thoma] has allow us to down like this and he has let ladies’s sport down. It’s put us ready the place we’re negotiating for contracts at a time when it’s horrible to barter for contracts proper now. If we’d have all been in the marketplace one month in the past then it will be a really completely different scenario.
“However regardless of that, we thought that ladies’s biking was in a greater place, as a result of we thought we had a sponsor who actually believed in us, who believed in what we might do.
“I don’t wish to be bitter about this sport, I don’t need it to make me bitter, but it surely’s a extremely, actually arduous capsule to swallow.”