The sorry ‘McCartney situation’ is now starting to become clearer. Apparently McCartney Foods was no longer supporting the team financially after the end of it’s 3 year sponsorship in 2000, but had allowed the team to keep use their name to tempt new backers, who basically didn’t appear. Julian Clark – the team director – confirmed “Expected funds did not materialize, and the team management have been left with huge debts by supporting the team,” in an official statement.
Riders who had travelled from as far as Australia and Colombia for a team launch on Friday were told that not only was there no money to campaign the 2001 season, but they’d even have to pay their hotel bills and return airfares.
“We are waiting for a miracle, but it is almost impossible,” said team leader Max Sciandri, who alleges that he is owed 11 month’s salary.
Julain Clark will be attending Maidstone Crown Court on February 2 to answer charges on seven counts of deception of “a sporting nature”.
Meanwhile the tile adhesive and grout supremo’s Mapei obviously had a great year as the squad they are title sponsor of has been expanded to 41 riders, which should keep bike sponsor Colnago’s painters busy. Michelle Bartoli, Paolo Bettini, Andrea Tafi, Franco Ballerini, Oscar Freire, Tom Steels and Stefano Garzelli, (winner of the 2000 Giro d’Italia) are all top riders and should fare even better with such a huge supporting cast.
The full line up can be found on the Cyclingnews website along with monumentally cheesey PR style interviews.