Pegasus – who’s to blame?

Monday, 13 December 2010

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.

bryancherrybfc December 13, 2010 at 10:13 am

Whoever is to blame for the lack of sponsors, I think Chris White should be ashamed to be honest. He has signed riders on the promise that the money is there and if it transpires that there is no money then his treatment of the riders is shocking.

The riders don't deserve it but it'll be very hard for them to find alternative rides now.

Michael December 13, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Apparently the "unnamed" sponsor was American George Gillett.

This is the same fellow who was part-owner of Liverpool FC and had the club taken away from him and his co-owner Tom Hicks due to massive long-term debt credit re-structuring issues related to debt they took on to purchase the club.

The Royal Bank of Scotland in essence pulled the rug out from under Gillett and approved the sale to other owners. He didn't lose any money, but he didn't make any either. He is currently locked in litigation vs Liverpool FC's board as well as the Royal Bank of Scotland regarding this.

He is also past owner of the storied Montreal Canadians of NHL hockey fame, one of the most successful sports franchises in the world (on par with Liverpool, Manu U, the New York Yankees etc as far as history and prestige go). He sold the team last year in order to help re-finance the debt acquired vis-a-vis the Liverpool FC purchase. Clearly it did not work out.

Given this recent turn of events regarding Liverpool FC it should come as no surprise that he pulled out of sponsoring Pegasus.

Honestly if White was banking on Gillette for financing given the well publicized Liverpool fiasco he was setting himself up for failure. Gilette has bigger fish to fry at this point.

Anonymous December 15, 2010 at 2:25 am

….as does the Royal Bank of Scotland. Sad to see Pegasus go, it was a nice idea while it lasted. Due Diligence chaps, Due Diligence.

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