Wout van Aert ordered to pay €662,000 to Nick Nuyens due to breaking contract with old team

The Belgian star broke his contract with Sniper Cycling BVBA in 2018 to join Jumbo-Visma

Wout van Aert and Nick Nuyens
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wout van Aert has been ordered to pay Nick Nuyens 662,000€ plus court costs as a sanction for breaking his contract from his old team to join Team Jumbo-Visma in October of 2018.

Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) was riding for the Sniper Cycling BVBA organisation which had both his road and cyclo-cross teams in 2018, but decided to break his contract to join WorldTour team Jumbo-Visma, where he has since had huge success.

However, his old team were aggreieved about him breaking his contract and claimed he could not do so, with team boss Nuyens taking it to court.

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This isn't the first time that this has been in the Belgian courts. Originally it was thrown out as Van Aert claimed he thought Nuyens had defaulted and he could leave the team without paying the severance fee.

However, Nuyens appealed this and the Antwerp Labour Court ruled that Van Aert still had an ongoing commitment which he did not respect. 

Sniper Cycling wanted €1.2million in compensation but the judge decided that Van Aert would have to pay half that amount as well as court costs. But the rider's lawyers are allegedly considering an appeal.

Nuyens' lawyer, Rudi Desmet, told Het Nieuwsblad after the ruling: "They went back to the essence of this file and asked whether Nick Nuyens actually made a mistake and there was, therefore, an urgent reason for Van Aert to end the collaboration. Today we know that Nuyens did not make that mistake."

In a testimony given by two-time world cyclo-cross champion, Niels Albert, Nuyens had supposedly asked Albert to lie about why he wanted to leave the team by putting the blame on Van Aert, but this has since been "done away with" says Desmet.

"Nuyens did nothing wrong at the time. And there was certainly no question of lying. Against that one witness statement from Niels Albert, we had more than one witness who stated that there was indeed a hair in the butter between Albert and Van Aert. Moreover, Van Aert was already giving plenty of criticism to the team at that time."

The only way that an appeal by Van Aert would be successful is if there had been an error during the procedures as the files shown in the court will no longer be judged.