Wout van Aert wins legal battle against former team after he broke contract

His former team boss Nick Nuyens had demanded €1.1million in damages

Wout van Aert at the Tour de France 2019 (David Stockman/AFP/Getty Images)
(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Wout van Aert has won his legal battle against his former team after he unilaterally terminated his contract.

The Belgian superstar left Veranda’s Willems-Crelan in September 2018 and made the switch to Jumbo-Visma a year ahead of schedule, despite still having a contract.

Former team manager at Veranda’s, Nick Nuyen, took Van Aert to court to seek compensation, demanding €1,150,000 (£991,719) in a hearing last month.

But on Tuesday (November 26), the Labour Court of Mechelen in Belgium ruled in favour of Van Aert, so the 25-year-old will not be forced to pay up, reports Het Nieuwsblad. (opens in new tab)

Nuyens has to cover the legal costs of the case, according to Belgian media, but he can still appeal against the court’s decision.

Van Aert had been due to join Dutch WorldTour team Jumbo-Visma for the 2020 season, seeing out his contract with Veranda’s Willems-Crelan.

But last September, the team announced that Van Aert had terminated his contract and it later emerged he had signed for Jumbo-Visma.

Van Aert’s departure came amid various plans for Veranda’s Willems Crelan to merge with other teams, which eventually resulted in the parent company, Sniper Cycling, joining Roompot-Charles where Nuyens stayed on as team manager.

Former triple cyclocross World Champion Van Aert, now a superstar on the road as well, publicly voiced his displeasure at being kept in the dark about potential mergers.

Van Aert has been out of competition since the Tour de France in July, after he suffered a nasty wound to his leg in a crash during the Pau time trial stage.

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He is still recovering and his return to cyclocross racing this winter remains in doubt.

In early November, Wout van Aert completed his first off-road ride since the serious crash. He rode 68km and posted the session on Strava, as his CX rivals competed in the Koppenbergcross, won by Eli Iserbyt with Tom Pidcock taking second.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former 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, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex 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 the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.