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Spanish federation: Labor laws preventing some ex-Zaaf riders from signing with new teams

Michaela Drummond and Debora Silvestri have been unable to sign with Spanish teams after the RFEC refused to register new contract amidst fears of legal action.

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Spain’s national cycling federation [RFEC] is unable to allow any former Zaaf riders sign with Spanish Continental teams due to national labor laws, it has told VeloNews.

While several riders have successfully left the troubled Zaaf squad for new teams, at least two riders have been prevented from switching teams.

Michaela Drummond revealed on social media that she was being prevented from racing the Vuelta Femenina as the RFEC would not recognize her new contract with the Farto-BTC squad, while Debora Silvestri is also rumored to have a similar issue.

The Spanish federation told VeloNews said that was working with Zaaf to resolve the issue but that it was it risk of legal action if it allowed Drummond and Silvestri to move before their contracts were officially ended.

“This week we are going to talk to the Zaaf to try to get everything resolved, but it depends on them whether the riders can change teams,” a spokesman for the Spanish federation told VeloNews.

“It is complicated, but everything responds [sic] to legal questions. In Spain we have the “Ley del Derecho Laboral” [Labor rights law]. Drummond and Silvestri still have a contract with the Zaaf and until they finish that contract we cannot allow them to race for another Spanish team. If we allowed the change of team, Zaaf could denounce us for having allowed him to race with another team while still under contract with them.”

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Zaaf had its Continental license stripped by the UCI last month after at least nine of its riders quit the squad amidst accusations that the team had failed to pay them at all this year. Audrey Cordon-Ragot was the first to leave in late March and she signed for Human Powered Health in early April after the UCI made an exception to its rules that prevent mid-season transfers prior to June 1.

Following Cordon-Ragot’s departure, there was an exodus of riders with several immediately signing deals with new teams. Drummond announced her departure on April 18 and was confirmed for Farto-BTC 10 days later.

Drummond was due to make her debut for the team at the Vuelta Femenina, which started this week but was unable to do so as she wasn’t officially a member of the team. While Drummond was unable to race, her former Zaaf teammate Lizzie Stannard is currently competing in the race for Israel-Premier Tech.

The Spanish federation told VeloNews that the difference was that Stannard and others had signed for international squads, while Mareille Meijering’s swap to Movistar was made possible as it is the UCI that oversees the contract.

“If they went to a non-Spanish team there would be no problem, as has happened with other cyclists,” the RFEC said. “There would also be no problem if they went to a World Tour team, even if it was Movistar, because as they belong to the World Tour category, it is the UCI that accepts licenses from Switzerland. From the RFEC we are going to work so that this can be resolved soon, but it does not depend on us.”

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