An agreement by Cycling Ireland to sponsor an academy in partnership with Irish professional cycling outfit EvoPro Racing was broken, days before the UCI Continental team began their season in Belgium.
Eam owner and sporting director Morgan Fox insists the team will continue to race through the 2022 season despite their budget having posted an unexpected six-figure loss for the year.
A partnership between Cycling Ireland and EvoPro Racing, believed to be worth north of €100,000, was announced in December, but last week it emerged that it was the source of a ruckus at the association. . The deal did not receive board approval, leading to the resignation of Cycling Ireland chairman Liam Collins and several board members.
There’s been no hint of any wrongdoing, but the collapse of the deal would be a major blow to the team. The agreement will establish an academy in partnership with EvoPro to open up multiple development pathways for young riders as well as allow Cycling Ireland to take part in the Belgium-based team’s service course.
Following the deal, EvoPro recruited 10 Irish riders to their 15-man roster. EvoPro, co-owner of former Ireland Cycling President PJ Nolan, raced across Europe at the third-place Continental level but regularly faced off against World Tour teams.
“A week before the season starts, they’ll pull the rug off our pitch,” Fox said. “If I wanted to, I would fold the team. If I wanted to, I would give up, but I don’t make sense. And I can’t let 15 riders and 15 staff down.
“And all the work I’ve done in the last three years, I don’t have it to give up. Especially when you know you’re not doing anything wrong, you’re doing this for the sake of the sport.
“I have not received a salary from EvoPro for three years. Myself and PJ totally have 100pc, putting everything we own into it. ”
Cycling Ireland said it would not comment until the BDO report is completed, possibly as early as tomorrow. Morgan said he has been encouraged by the cycling community’s response to their plight and plans to launch a GoFundMe fundraising page later this week.
Their season kicks off Sunday at GP Jean-Pierre Monsere, where they will face World Tour pairs Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, Lotto Soudal and UAE Emirates, with Irish drivers Daire Feeley and Conn McDunphy expected to be on the team.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/cycling/a-week-before-the-season-starts-they-pull-the-rug-out-from-under-us-evopro-team-boss-vows-to-continue-on-41405081.html ‘A week before the season starts, they pull the rug away from us’ – EvoPro team boss vows to continue