Giant to stay as bike sponsor as Ochowicz begins search for new title sponsor.
Riders at CCC Team have accepted a 50% salary cut so the men's WorldTour team can continue to race during the 2020 season, however the long-term future of the team is now in doubt after CCC has decided to end its sponsorship at the end of this year.
In early April, the team managed by Jim Ochowicz announced they were suspending the majority of the support-staff, and 'heavily reducing' rider salaries due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the team's title sponsor.
In recent weeks, riders and their agents have negotiated with Ochowicz, offering to accept major cuts to 2020 salaries in the hope the team can survive. However according to reports in Het Nieuwsblad and La Gazzetta dello Sport, CCC will end its title sponsorship this year, a year before the agreed three-year term.
The teams roster includes big names such as Greg Van Avermat, Matteo Trentin and Ilnur Zakarin.
Bike sponsor Giant has reportedly said it will continue to support the team in the future but Ochowicz and his Continuum Sports management company face a race against time to find a replacement for the Polish-based shoe retailer if the team is to retain its place in the 2021 WorldTour.
Riders have still to be paid for April but the salary cuts should allow the team to survive for the rest of 2020 and race the new August to November calendar recently announced by the UCI. If CCC pays the reduced salaries, riders will not begin the procedure to trigger the UCI's bank guarantee covering three months of salaries registered with the UCI.
CCC Team have been hit hard by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and the suspension of racing since March, with various reports in the Polish press detailing the financial struggles of the footwear company. Stores are closed and the CCC share price and revenues have plummeted, with billionaire owner Dariusz Milek cutting costs in response.
CCC Group recently made an agreement with several banks to secure financing for the next 12 months. In order to restructure its second quarter expenses, it could be forced to cease all sports sponsorship.
The group expects to need cash to spend on closing stores in Germany and to settle with landlords of stores already closed in central Europe as well as the "closure of activities related to sport sponsorship, contracted for 2020-2021," a report in the Polish press noted.
Team Manager Jim Ochowicz:
"In order to have the budget to race should the season start again, we have had to temporarily suspend all but a handful of staff and heavily reduce rider salaries," said earlier this month.
"As soon as racing can resume, we hope to be in a position to reinstate as many support staff as possible and reevaluate our budget."
The economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic have only begun to ripple through the sport of cycling. WorldTour racing is suspended until at least August, while the Astana, Lotto Soudal, Bahrain-McLaren and Mitchelton-Scott teams have all cut or deferred rider salaries.
UCI president David Lappartient has expressed concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on some professional cycling teams. In a report published on Monday, Lappartient said he hoped all the teams would survive until the end of this season.
"We know that three, four, five teams have more problems than other teams," said Lappartient. "We hope they all reach the end of the season."
This comes along with the news that PetroChem giant Petroineos, part owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the title sponsor who rushed to the aid of Team Sky a year ago, is rumoured to be applying for up to £500m in state support loans to bail out their oil-operations.