It’s not got much coverage but the Lampre team’s existence has been under threat. The paperwork presented to the UCI before the season was deemed to have some “administrative errors” but this was code for a lack of funding for the team, the input of funds from all the team sponsors simply didn’t match the wage bill, swollen by the arrival of Alessandro Petacchi. The UCI, and its advisors Ernst & Young, discovered the treasury trouble and after negotiations, allowed the team to race but only with a temporary licence… which runs out in 10 days’ time. Put simply, if the team can’t present a stronger financial base then it’ll get relegated to second division “Pro Continental” status or even forced to disband.
But there’s good news in that the team have signed a deal with Italian footwear brand Geox. The deal will take them only to the end of the year, it is only for nine-months but the word is that Geox could come on board for longer. Perhaps we’ll see Geox-Lampre for 2011. Known for their breathable shoes, the deal will give Guiseppe Sarronni’s squad some financial breathing space as well.