Wout van Aert and Olav Kooij are yet to be paid their prize money earned from last year’s Tour of Britain, following the liquidation of former race organiser SweetSpot.
The Visma-Lease a Bike duo were the most successful riders at the race taking five of the eight stages between them, the overall victory and points classification. However, their efforts from the 2.Pro race in September are still to be financially rewarded.
“A total of €113,080 will be awarded in prize money at the event,” reads the race’s regulations page, but Cycling Weekly revealed yesterday that, according to several sources, this is unlikely to be paid.
According to the CPA, an organisation whose primary aim is to protect the rights and interests of riders, failure to pay would require British Cycling, as the race’s national federation, to settle the debt. Last year, British Cycling terminated SweetSpot’s deal to organise the Tour of Britain amid allegations that the promoter owed around £700,000 in race licence fees.
This was confirmed to Cycling Weekly by Adam Hansen, the president of the CPA riders’ union in a statement which guaranteed “one way or another, eventually, the riders will get their prize money if the race continues in 2024.”
“The CPA is well aware of the situation and has already started the process of going after the prize money funds,” Hansen said.
“If there is not enough money left to pay after the liquidation process, it means that the national federation will have to bear the debts of the previous organisers under UCI regulations.”
The future of the Tour of Britain, alongside the Women’s Tour, was plunged into doubt when SweetSpot was forced to appoint KRE corporate recovery to deal with the company’s creditors after entering “voluntary liquidation.”
Since the company’s collapse, British Cycling has taken over the organisation of both the Tour of Britain and the now-renamed Tour of Britain Women with hopes of them running in their original 2024 slots in June and September.
The Women’s Tour was absent from the Women’s WorldTour calendar in 2023 after a failed crowdfunding campaign forced SweetSpot to cancel the race. British Cycling CEO Jon Dutton has admitted it is a race against the clock for the women’s race and that their “intention is to deliver something in 2024, which then grows in 2025 and 2026.”
Given the uncertainty about the race’s future and now the missing prize money, it’s understood that despite its favourable position on the calendar as a pre-World Championships event, the bigger teams such as Visma-Lease a Bike could skip the Tour of Britain – at least until its situation is stabilized.
When Dutton spoke to the press last week, including CyclingWeekly , to outline the new men’s and women’s event portfolio, he addressed the unpaid prize money as a “legacy issue” left with the governing body to resolve.
Speaking about the challenges now facing the race in general, he said “This for us, is about growing confidence and credibility amongst teams. It’s about building relationships,” he said.
“We know that we’ve got a big job to do in terms of our own credibility and that will come from gaining momentum from whatever we say, backing that up with our actions, and forming those relationships.”