The UCI is refusing to register Australia’s Pegasus Sports team as a Professional Continental squad, the federation announced Monday.
The team, which is part of the same organization as the Fly V Australia squad that has raced in North America in recent years, had initially hoped for a top level ProTeam (formerly ProTour) registration, but failed to make the cut based on its results. Then the team lost some promised sponsorship dollars and had to request in extension to a deadline for the second tier Pro Continental registration.
Team directors last week said they had secured the necessary sponsorship, but the UCI said the organization still failed to show it had what it takes to register.
“On the basis of the file submitted to it within the established deadline and taking into account the opinion of Ernst & Young, the UCI Licence Commission today decided to refuse the registration of the Australian team Pegasus Sports as a UCI Professional Continental Team,” the UCI said Monday in a statement.
“We are shocked that the license was denied,” said Pegasus Sports CEO Chris White. “The team was already prepared for the 2011 season and we worked really hard after the news from last week. Significant cost reductions were made and additional sponsorship both from within our existing sponsor base and an external group was gathered, in order to stabilize the team financially in the short term. The people within the organisation were at the center of this action and commitment, which is a real testament to the mateship within the team. We do not want to give up. The team is exploring whether there are other options for next year.”
The team’s Ben Day also reacted on his Twitter feed: “Everything we’ve done & sacrificed to get to this…now 50 people without a job :-(”
The UCI said the decision ends the registration period for Pro Continental and ProTeams.