The collapse of the Zaaf cycling team accelerated last week when several more riders left the team and it fell below the minimum number of eight riders for a UCI women’s Continental squad.
The UCI revoked its license, but the zombie of Zaaf lives on this weekend with reports that two former riders, Michaela Drummond and Debora Silvestri, are not being allowed to enter La Vuelta Femenina, which starts Monday. Drummond, who signed last week with the Farto team, confirmed the news in a social media post.
The RFEC’s jurisdiction in the case is unclear. UCI rules on professional road cycling clearly state the grounds for termination for a rider contract, and nowhere is there mention of a provision to prevent a rider from starting a race once she has signed with a new team. Additionally, other ex-Zaaf riders have been able to start races with new teams, including in Spain, where Lizzie Stannard raced reVolta with her new Israel-Premier Tech Roland outfit, finishing 10th. She’s also on the team’s startlist for the Vuelta, while Drummond is not on Farto’s.
One possibility is that riders’ new contracts haven’t all been finalized. Silvestri, for instance, is not publicly linked to a new team yet. But Drummond reportedly signed with Farto on April 28. As a Spanish Continental team, the team’s rider contracts are verified with the RFEC, which then might be itself responsible for the delay.
The RFEC did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment on Sunday from Escape Collective. The federation also did not respond to a request for comment for our exclusive report on the team’s troubles, nor did they communicate directly with the riders on their complaints about lack of payment. Some riders Escape spoke with believe that the RFEC was attempting to slow down or stall the request to access the team’s bank guarantee.