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EF Pro Cycling is the latest WorldTour team to undergo wage adjustments in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sources confirmed to VeloNews that riders and staffers are facing wage reductions, and that some jobs have been cut.
EF Pro Cycling officials told VeloNews budget adjustments are being negotiated with individual riders across the team.
“We are discussing things on an individual basis with each rider,” EF Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. “We need their sign-off and willingness to make this work.”
Officials cited economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent quarantine. The team’s owner, the privately held EF Education First, earns much of its income from cultural exchanges, educational travel, and language training — all areas impacted by the unprecedented global lockdown.
“The travel and education industries have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 virus, and as a result of that we need to implement cost-saving measures,” Vaughters said. “The conversations have been very productive. Our riders have put the team above their own self-interest, and I’m very grateful for that.”
EF Pro Cycling, founded in 2007 as Slipstream, is home to such riders as Rigoberto Urán, Michael Woods, Alberto Bettiol, and Tejay van Garderen. EF Education First bought the team in 2018, and took over as its title sponsor.
“EF Pro Cycling is working with riders to reduce salaries due to the global pandemic’s impact on the racing calendar and the education and travel industries,” a statement read. “The changes help the team respond to the dynamic global economic situation caused by the COVID-19 virus while also looking toward the return of racing in the 2020 season and beyond. The team has also made reductions in staff. We understand that the state of the world, our economy, and the future of global travel and racing may feel uncertain, but it is our hope that we — along with everyone else — will recover from this challenging time stronger than before.”
The team is the latest to undergo wage adjustments as the coronavirus pandemic has put the freeze on professional cycling. The crisis is battering some team sponsors, forcing many squads to reduce salaries, trim budgets, and furlough or lay off workers.
Other WorldTour teams making reductions and readjustments include CCC Team, Mitchelton-Scott, Bahrain-McLaren, Lotto-Soudal, and Astana. Other women’s teams, and lower-division men’s teams have also seen cuts or budget reductions.
The riders’ union CPA and rider agents have raised the alarm about teams arbitrarily reducing budgets.
With racing stopped since March, teams are hopeful to see a resumption of racing later this summer. Officials released a tentative schedule this week that includes the Tour de France running from August 29 to September 20.
EF Pro Cycling was off to a hot start in 2020, with nine team victories, before racing stopped in March with Paris-Nice.