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Lotto-Soudal and Astana give riders pay cut due to coronavirus pandemic

Lotto-Soudal also make 25 members of staff temporarily unemployed

Joe Robinson
30 Mar 2020

Riders and staff from WorldTour teams have begun to accept temporary pay cuts while racing in disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Both Lotto Soudal and Astana confirmed that their riders would be forced into having a percentage of their wages cut. while some members of the team have already been made temporarily unemployed. 

Belgian team Lotto-Soudal confirmed they had laid off 25 support staff, including bus drivers and soigneurs, until racing resumes and all riders would be taking a voluntary pay cut. A number of self-employed staff members have also had their contracts suspended.

Due to provisions put in place by the Belgian government, these unemployed staff members will have to rely on state benefits.

In a statement, the team confirmed the actions stating, 'This decision was taken without discussion and with unanimity. It was clear to everyone that particular circumstances require particular team actions.'

General manager of the team, John Lelangue, then told Belgian broadcaster VTM News that his team expects all racing to be postponed until June at the earliest and the team was having to adapt.

'We are now in a situation where there is no more work for them. We know that we won't be racing in the next two months, and maybe not in June,' said Lelangue.

'We naturally hope that we can race again soon, but it's clear that we have to adapt to the situation. That's why we have chosen to put those 25 people on technical unemployment.

'It's a special situation for every sector.'

Following suit, Kazakh team Astana have also announced that all of their riders and staff members will take a 30% pay cut for the next three months, subject to extension.

These are the first two WorldTour teams to confirm temporary pay cuts as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Pro Teams Circus-Wanty Gobert and Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles had also laid off staff in order for them to take advantage of state benefits. 

Beyond cycling, other sporting teams such as Italian football team Juventus have accepted pay freezes while their season is postponed.

With cycling racing suspended for the foreseeable future, it is likely that more teams will be forced into similar measures.