Elections in Colombia have delayed salary payments to the 16 professionals on the second-division South American team
MILAN (VN) — Team Colombia’s cyclists should receive their paychecks “within a few days” for the final part of the year’s work after a delay due to government elections. However, some cyclists on the team have already expressed their frustration with Colombian officials via Twitter in November.
“Additional resources were added yesterday to continue and to strengthen the activities of the Ministry of Sport,” read an October 23 statement by the ministry, Coldeportes. “10b pesos [$4.6 million] were added [to support five different areas, including] team Colombia-Coldeportes.”
Italian Claudio Corti, manager of the second-division team, is traveling Monday to Colombia as part of a planned winter trip to check on his 2015 cyclists and to speak with Minister of Sport, Andrés Botero. His team confirmed to VeloNews that all riders, including those who are joining new teams for 2015, will be paid in a few days.
Jarlinson Pantano and Robinson Chalapud used their Twitter accounts to express their concerns with Botero. Chalapud, who will be joining third-division team Orgullo Antioqueño for 2015, wrote, “What’s going on? @AndresBoteroPh How long must we continue to wait? @jarlinsonpantan and [team] @Col_Coldeportes are serious.” Pantano, who has signed with Swiss IAM Cycling team, re-tweeted the Twitter post to his followers.
The 2014 team’s 16 riders received monthly payments through the season, but the team explained that the delayed payments stem from the recent election in Colombia.
At home, Colombia elected its government officials in May. At the same time, the team raced the Giro d’Italia alongside 18 first-division teams, thanks to its wildcard invitation. Juan Manuel Santos received enough votes by June to become re-elected, but his new term — and appointments like Botero’s in the Ministry of Sport — did not officially began until August 7.
The election caused a delay and a chain reaction that led to the missing payments, prompting Chalapud’s Twitter complaint.
Colombia’s elections, explained the team, meant that the money was released later than normal to Coldeportes and slowed the following steps leading to the cyclists’ bank accounts. Because Coldeportes is a government institution and may not pay foreign groups, it must pass the money to the Colombian Olympic Committee. The committee transfers the money to the team, which pays the cyclists.
The funds were released “a few days ago” to the team, which will enable Pantano, Chalapud, and Corti’s other cyclists to complete their 2014 seasons. This season, Fabio Duarte placed second in the Montecampione and the Panarotta summit finish stages in the Giro d’Italia. Corti hopes to see the team win a stage in 2015, which could come from new hire Alex Cano, another Colombian.
Corti explained that the Bogota trip will help him program the team’s plans for the season. He told VeloNews that he wants to take the team to the Giro for a third consecutive year, in what he hopes will bring a stage win, and to the Tour de France for the first time.