Drummond cleared to join Farto-BTC after Zaaf departure

 Ally Wollaston and Michaela Drummond sprinting at the Santos Tour Down Under 2023
Ally Wollaston and Michaela Drummond sprinting at the Santos Tour Down Under 2023

Michaela Drummond has been cleared by the Spanish Cycling Federation to join Farto-BTC after her early departure from Zaaf Cycling Team.

The New Zealand rider signed with her new team at the end of April but was prevented from racing La Vuelta Femenina due to strict employment laws in Spain, according to the Spanish Cycling Federation.

“I can finally race for my new team next week tears of absolute joy! Thank you all for the unbelievable amount of support this past week—such an incredible cycling community. Spanish Federation, thanks,” Drummond wrote in a post on social media Friday.

Drummond was one of nine riders to walk away from the Zaaf Cycling Team after allegations that it had not paid some of its riders and staff salaries. The other early departures included Debora Silvestri, Ebtissam Zayed Ahmed, Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Lucie Jounier, Mareille Meijering, Elizabeth Stannard, Heidi Franz, and Maggie Coles-Lyster.

However, on April 27, the UCI announced that it had removed the Zaaf Cycling Team from the list of registered teams because its roster fell below the minimum of eight riders that the sport governing body requires for a team to obtain a Continental women’s team licence.

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Drummond left the Zaaf Cycling Team on April 17 and signed a contract on April 28 to race with the Spanish team Farto-BTC.

However, she confirmed last week that she wasn’t permitted to join her new team to start La Vuelta Femenina held from May 1-7.

Spanish Cycling Federation explained to Cyclingnews that employment law within Spain made it complicated for rider transfers to other Spanish teams. It said that the federation was unable to allow riders to race with a new team under its own jurisdiction until they have officially ended their contract with Zaaf.

“If they went to a non-Spanish team, there would be no problem, as has happened with other cyclists,” the Spanish Federation told Cyclingnews.

“There would also be no problem if they went to a WorldTour team, even if it was Movistar because as they belong to the WorldTour category, it is the UCI that accepts licenses from Switzerland. From the RFEC, we are working so that this can be resolved.”

A number of former Zaaf Cycling Team riders were given exemptions to move outside the transfer window, which begins on June 1, given the extenuating circumstances.

Audrey Cordon-Ragot signed with Human Powered Health right before Paris-Roubaix, Lucie Jounier with Team Coop-Hitec and Mareille Meijering with Movistar, Franz has signed with DNA Pro Cycling, Elizabeth Stannard with Israel Premier Tech, and Danielle De Francesco to Arkéa Pro Cycling.

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