DSM rider takes legal action against team in hopes of ending contract

More upheaval at the German team, amidst rumours more riders could be leaving

Ilan Van Wilder
Ilan Van Wilder
(Image credit: Photo by DAVID STOCKMAN/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

A Team DSM rider has launched legal action against the team in the hopes of bringing his contract to an end. 

Ilan Van Wilder, a 21-year-old Belgian pro, and his agent have chosen to issue a legal challenge in order to bring the rider’s contract to an early end. 

A hugely promising talent in the junior ranks, Van Wilder stepped up to WorldTour level with Team DSM, formerly Team Sunweb, last season on a three year contract.  

Following rumours that he wanted to leave the team before the end of his contract in 2022, Van Wilder has now launched a legal action in the hopes of breaking free from the German-registered team. 

A statement from Team DSM confirmed the news: “We are aware that one of our riders, Ilan Van Wilder and his agent have chosen to take legal action to break Ilan's employment contract with Team DSM . In this way they hope to make a switch to another team possible before the end date of the existing agreement. We are obviously very disappointed with this procedure.

“Instead of taking the right approach, actually asking for a transfer, a negative media campaign has been chosen, discrediting the team and those who work with Ilan on a daily basis, in order to force a premature termination of the agreement .”

“Let it be clear that the people in the squad have absolutely fulfilled their responsibilities and obligations to work with Ilan. During the legal proceedings, Team DSM will not comment further on this matter.”

Team DSM has been at the centre of major upheaval in recent years, starting with the departure of Tom Dumoulin and a slew of key backroom staff at the end of 2019.

Since then, there have been a number of high-profile departures from the squad, most notably rising star Marc Hirschi who broke with his contract to join UAE Team Emirates. 

The team has previously disputed reports of unrest in the team, saying that “the rumours you're talking about are mostly about internal stuff, things that don't have to come out.” 

Most recently, a report from cycling news site Wielerflits suggested that Classics talent Tiesj Bennoot was looking to break his contract early, after signing a contract extension last summer.  

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Benoot, a former Strade Bianche winner, joined DSM in 2020 from Lotto-Soudal, winning one stage of Paris-Nice with the team. 

DSM declined to comment on the rumours of Benoot’s departure. 

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.