Disappointed with the race results of Filippo Pozzato, the management of his Russian-based squad Katusha has decided the Italian will now ride without compensation.
“The results are not there, this is clear, despite serious conversations with Filippo, there has been no improvement. We are therefore withholding the paychecks,” said Andre Tchmil. “He must also pay for his own massages and pasta dinners.”
Tchmil isn’t the only one at the Global Russian Cycling Project that’s unhappy with Pozzato. Directeur sportif Serge Parsani minced no words about the Italian’s under-performance.
“He’s not Katusha’s 30th rider, he’s the first rider, so it’s normal that the team might expect something from him because his teammates who work for him are working towards an objective, which is winning races,” said Parsani. “No podium, no pay. This is a business, we have sponsors, these bikes aren’t cheap, hotels cost money.”
Pozzato would now join teammate Danilo di Luca, who is riding for free this year after returning from a two year doping suspension. There are rumors that Katusha is already in the process of reworking Pozzato’s contract.
Pozzato, who finished a distant 38th in last Sunday’s Tour of Flanders, was surprised by the new Katusha plans. “I have said repeatedly, I need support, not criticism. So now, they’re taking my money away? I don’t understand the way these Russians think,” said Pozzato. “I don’t care if Di Luca is riding for free. They want me to race, then they pay me.”
Current UCI regulations require a minimum salary of 49.500 Euro per year and that the contract is checked and verified by the UCI accountants Ernst & Young. There has been no explanation given by Katusha as to how they will deal with these financial regulations.
“This is a short term arrangement. If Pozzato gets himself on the podium at Roubaix, then we mail the check,” said Tchmil. “Otherwise, I would suggest he budget his expenses wisely and improve his training. There is no free ride in Russia.”