Ex-Spanish pro reveals ‘pay-to-race’ schemes

Lyle Ellerbee

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Spanish ex-professional Óscar Pujol exposed specifics of “pay-to-race” schemes soffered to him all through his professional racing occupation.

Pujol raced a number of seasons in the WorldTour with Cérvelo and Omega Pharma, and then for virtually yet another ten years in second and third-tier groups before retiring in 2018.

Following the 2011 time, he could not locate a different WorldTour contract, but explained without the need of naming names that he was available what is known as “pay-to-race” strategies.

That’s when a rider have to set up part or all of their possess contracts to secure a roster spot on an elite group.

“I had two presents. Just one crew asked me to pay back 12,000 euros, and an additional 40,000 euros,” Pujol stated through an job interview with “Bicio” on Dario Sport.

“I didn’t want to pay 12,000 euros. I observed a group on Facebook from Iran that was wanting for riders,” he mentioned. “I most popular to shell out it on a car or truck, and with the big difference, I booked a flight to Iran and I went to race for an Iranian workforce.”

Following leaving the WorldTour, Pujol went on an global odyssey to be a part of teams in non-standard biking nations around the world. He raced for this kind of outfits as Azad, RTS Racing Group, Polygon, Skydive and Ukyo, a Japanese workforce where by he raced for four seasons.

The “pay-to-race” strategies are not common, but they do happen in decreased degree and even higher level teams, specially with riders determined for a place on a group to carry on their racing careers.

“Some people today just take edge of this in the activity for the reason that persons are so passionate about it. You do it because you enjoy it. I am not heading to title names, but it’s always the identical teams that request you for funds to race,” Pujol claimed. “In cycling, if you never have a ‘godfather’ you are never baptized.”

The 38-year-old Pujol won 4 pro races, all of them in Japan. He nonetheless competes in mountain bicycle and marathon situations across Europe.

“A good deal of buddies encouraged me to hold racing and here I am 1 additional time,” he mentioned. “Now I have to do it on my personal, but that’s the way it is.”

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