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“It's great that we have come out of this so everyone can look ahead. I want to thank Thomas for helping think this through and wish him well in 2014. I hope now that everyone in our team who are still out of work over the next fe...

Photo: Sirotti




30.11.2013 @ 11:49 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Thomas De Gendt and Vacansoleil-DCM manager Daan Luijkx have settled their contract dispute after the rider had threatened the Dutch team with a lawsuit. Both parties can now look forward as De Gendt prepares himself for his first season as an Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider.


Thomas De Gendt managed to save his career at the last minute when he signed a contract with Omega Pharma-Quick Step for the coming season but the Belgian still haD unfinished businesses with his current Vacansoleil team which is folding at the end of the year. Having signed a contract for the 2014 season with the Dutch team, the Belgian threatened to take the case to the courts to make team manager Daan Luijkx pay his contractual obligations.


Already last year when he had taken a breakthrough stage win on the Stelvio and 3rd overall in the Giro d'Italia, De Gendt was discussing a possible contract with Omega Pharma-Quick Step. However, the Belgian decided to stay loyal to Vacansoleil and signed a contract for 2013 and 2014 that was reportedly worth 1,1 million euros a year.


The contract was between Luijkx and De Gendt and not with the team as there was no sponsor in place for the 2014 season. The attempt to find a replacement backer was unsuccessful and has led the team to its demise.


Earlier this year, De Gendt received a resignation letter which was seen as remarkable by De Gendt's manager Paul De Geyter.


“The deal we had is being terminated by one party only,” he told Het Nieuwsblad at the time. “I expect that they need to buy us out.”


After a lengthy search, De Gendt was saved at the last minute when Janier Acevedo broke an agreement to ride for Omega Pharma-Quick Step in 2014. That opened up a spot for De Gendt who signed a contract that according to the Belgian himself saw his wage being cut by 80%.


De Gendt and Luijkx have now settled the dispute and while the details have not been disclosed, De Gendt is likely to have received some kind of compensation for his massive pay cut.


“It's great that we have come out of this so everyone can look ahead,’ Luijkx said. “I want to thank Thomas for helping think this through and wish him well in 2014. I hope now that everyone in our team who are still out of work over the next few months to work.”

Most Vacansoleil rider have found a new team for the coming season but many will step down one or more levels. Bert-Jan Lindeman is the most recent rider to secure a contract for the coming season when he signed with the Rabobank Continental Team and this leaves just Grega Bole, Wouter Mol and Tomasz Marczynski on the market.



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