Wout van Aert’s former team boss will appeal court decision

The case was resolved in Van Aert’s favour after the Belgian left the team with time left on his contract

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wout van Aert’s former team boss will launch an appeal after a court ruled in favour of the Belgian star over a contract dispute.

The legal battle started after Van Aert left his Veranda’s Willems-Crelan team before the end of his contract in late 2018, citing “urgent reasons.”

Former team manager at the Professional Continental team, Nick Nuyens, then took Van Aert to court and demanded €1.1million for breach of contract, but the labour court of Mechelen in Belgium ruled in favour of the rider during a hearing on Tuesday (November 26).

Nuyens’s legal representative, Rudi Desmet, told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Neiuws that his client will appeal to the labour court in Antwerp.

Responding to the news, Van Aert said on Twitter: “Justice has been done. What a relief!

“It gives me a huge boost to continue working on my comeback and to be able to concentrate 100 per cent on this.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported me.”

Van Aert had initially 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 for 2019.

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.

On Tuesday, the Belgian court found that the relationship of trust between Nuyens and Wout van Aert had been violated to the point there was no longer a healthy relationship between the pair, and that Van Aert was justified in breaking his contract.

Nuyens now has to cover the legal costs of the case.

>>> Tom Pidcock undergoes dental surgery after high-speed crash at Tour de l’Avenir

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.

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.