With news that the Aussie team is set to implode, some are already casting around for the bogeyman here. Because it’ll take a near-miracle to save the team, a fact not helped by the fact that the team simply doesn’t have a roster that will let them win that much.
Whilst some might be asking big questions about George Gillet or Chris White, let’s sit back for a minute. Unless something turns up to indicate real fraud then this just looks like a collective disgrace involving a cast of many.
As I said yesterday, it amazed me that any riders could be signed without the funding being in place, I suggested that the UCI’s first contact with the team should be to verify the money is in place. Similarly, riders too have a duty to satisfy themselves that a team is solvent and if they are not accountants then their agents can be of assitance here, especially when larger contracts are involved.
There’s also the tricky matter of the media because quite a few insiders have had very big doubts about the team but they didn’t put pen to paper to warn. Bicycling’s Joe Lindsey is an exception but that’s partly because he pens an opinion column, he was able to ask questions as opposed to reporting the facts, a valuable opportunity given the lack of facts involved.
But let’s not be too laid back. The vanishing sponsor has some big questions to answer. Was the team management fooled by promises of money that never turned up. Did they really get cold feet when news broke of Contador’s positive? If so it appears they never did their homework on the sport.
And finally, yes the team management has big questions to answer. Only last week we read that Pegasus had signed two riders but how on earth did this happen if the team management knew the money wasn’t there? This might be business but it’s certainly not poker.
Either way this is a tragedy, a lot of riders and staff, not to mention Aussie dreams, are being dumped on just before Christmas and weeks away from the Tour Down Under. The point here has to be that we learn the lessons – because we still haven’t learned from Linda McCartney or the SonyEriccson@Hotmail.com fiasco – rather than get angry with anyone involved here.