Astana Cycling Team Covers Sponsor’s Name in Protest
Lance Armstrong (currently 25th in the Giro d’Italia), Levi Leipheimer (4th), Chris Horner (8th) and the rest of the Astana team (all but one rider, Andrey Zeits) are wearing jerseys that have most of their primary sponsors blocked out in protest of not getting paid. Ã‚Â Johan Bruyneel, in a statement on his blog, said this:
“Since the beginning of the year, our team has had to deal with delays in payment from Kazakhstan. Up till now the situation is that the Kazakh Cycling Federation (KCF) has only paid two months of salary to the management company that runs the team. The only explanation we get from Kazakhstan is that the sponsors arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t paying because of the economic crisis. They say they are trying to find a solution, but for me it is unclear which action they will take.
The UCI told me that the KCF has a deadline of May 31st to make good on the payments; otherwise the ProTour license will be revoked. We cannot do anything else other than to wait until the end of the Giro.
Of course, I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stopped working on this. I am also tryingÃ‚Â to find a solution to carry on with this team from June 1st. Last year we managed to resurrect Team Astana. In a short period of time we made it one of the most loved cycling teams. This team structure cannot be lost!”
He continues, stating that even he’s not getting paid. Ã‚Â He says, as heas Armstrong, that they’re talking with other potential sponsors and marketing agencies to pick up the slack and keep them rolling through into the Tour de France. Ã‚Â One detail worth noting is that apparently the KCF hasn’t been paid by most of its sponsors, which means it can’t pay the team.
Hit ‘more’ to see a pic of the jersey before they took white-out to it…