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‘We are now literally racing for our jobs’: Cannondale riders react to shock sponsorship announcement

Cannondale-Drapac's Michael Woods on stage seven of the Vuelta a España (Sunada) Cycling Weekly

Riders hoping for the survival of the American team but will need to start looking for new contracts with other teams


Cannondale-Drapac‘s riders are now racing for their jobs with the news last night that the American WorldTour team released them from their contracts with insufficient 2018 funds secured.

A nine-man team is racing in the Vuelta a España, but in total, 28 riders could be out of work and around 50 staff members.

>>> Cannondale-Drapac riders freed from contracts with team’s future under threat

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“Hopefully we can make the best out of this here in the next two weeks,” Joe Dombrowski said.

“We all race to win all the time but now it’s desperate times. I suppose we are now quite literally racing for our jobs.

“It’s stressful to me because I don’t know what’s that going to happen and others too because they have a home and a family. It could really hurt them.”

The team re-signed Rigoberto Urán, who placed second in the 2017 Tour de France behind Chris Froome (Sky), for three years. They announced a new sub-sponsor and all seemed to be in place for 2018.

Rigoberto Uran crosses the line on stage 12 of the Tour de France. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada Yuzuru Sunada

Last night, the team managed by Jonathan Vaughters said the replacement sponsor lined up to replace Cannondale fell through.

Unibet, the online betting website that sponsored a team in the past, was due to replace Cannonade, sources told Cycling Weekly.

Management company Slipstream Sports will look for a new sponsor but leading riders could leave in the meantime.

“It is so late in the year that if they don’t come up with an answer soon they’re going to lose a lot of riders because we cannot afford to wait around,” Dombrowski continued.

“If it gets October or November and you don’t have anything, you could be without a job for the new year. And once you’re out of a job and cycling is pretty hard to come back.

“That’s a scary thing to look at when you have a house to pay for or kids. It’s definitely a stressful situation.”

The team formed in 2007 and earned a wildcard to the Giro d’Italia in 2008, where they won the opening team time trial.

Over the years, they won the 2012 Giro d’Italia with Ryder Hesjedal, stages in every Grand Tour and Paris-Roubaix, producing stars like Daniel Martin and Tyler Farrar along the way.

Joe Dombrowski descends at the Giro d'Italia 2017 (Sunada) Yuzuru SUNADA

“You think about all the staff and all the people Slipstream Sports,” explained Canadian Michael Woods, who has been climbing with Froome, in the Vuelta. “They could potentially be without a job next year. It’s like a 100 people. Everyone is worried. At least as riders we have agents.

“I want to stay in this team because I love racing with this team because the group of guys is great and the sponsors are great and this is where I started my WorldTour career. The team believed in me.

“I’m talking with other teams for sure. There are a couple WorldTour teams that I really respect and that I really like and that I love to ride for them. My big goal is to stay in the WorldTour and hopefully it’s with this team.”

“It is big news that I did not expect given how the Tour de France went for us with Rigoberto Urán and then Oath signed to sponsor,” Belgian Tom Van Asbroeck said.

“Rigoberto renewed his contract and I was quite confident the team would continue. It’s not over yet but it is quite a shock.”

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