By Andrew Hood
The UCI on Thursday suspended Team Coast for the second time this season from racing in what’s another setback for the troubled German team.
The UCI issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying that riders had not been paid during April and that it was once again suspending the team from competition.
“Unfortunately, this reveals the structural problems of the team remain very serious, despite all the steps taken by the UCI to protect the interest of the racers,” the UCI said a statement. “Team Coast is not authorized, as of this day, to take part in any race on the international calendar.”
Team Coast was initially suspended in March and was not allowed to start Paris-Nice until payment guarantees were in place. Another dispute was the amount of money the team was withholding from riders’ paychecks.
Co-sponsor Bianchi reportedly ponied up the money to cover the salaries of star rider Jan Ullrich and his entourage and Coast returned to racing by Milan-San Remo.
Several former riders such as Lars Michaelsen and Fernando Escartin insisted they are still owed back wages. Alex Zülle and Spanish rider Luis Perez both abandoned ship, with Zülle heading to Phonak and Perez to Cofidis.
What this means for Ullrich and the Tour de France remains to be seen. In the first round of troubles, Ullrich stood by the team, but his manager said the German star would walk away if financial problems resurfaced.
On Thursday, the UCI left the door open for the team to solve the situation.
“The reintegration of the Coast team is subject to financial adjustments, making it possible to sufficiently guarantee its obligations for the remainder of the season,” the UCI wrote.