Cian Uijtdebroeks was pictured wearing blank training kit on Sunday, the day after Jumbo-Visma claimed they had signed him from Bora-Hansgrohe, a claim that the latter denies will happen.
The Belgian went on a group ride with Chris Froome and other Israel-Premier Tech riders near Girona, wearing a Bora helmet, a black jersey, but appearing to wear Jumbo-Visma shorts, according to photographs. He seemed to still be riding his Bora-issue Specialized Tarmac.
The 20-year-old won the Tour de l'Avenir in 2022, and finished eighth at the Vuelta a España this year. While he has not won a race as a professional yet, he is one of the most sought-after talents around. He signed for Bora-Hansgrohe in 2022.
On Saturday evening, Jumbo-Visma stated that they had signed the 20-year-old on a four-year contract from 2024, but Bora-Hansgrohe responded straight away, saying that the rider was still under contract for 2024.
"When the opportunity arose to sign Cian as of December 1st, we didn't hesitate," Jumbo sports director Merijn Zeeman said on Saturday. "Cian is a perfect fit for our team. He wants to develop in all areas. We are happy that he has chosen us and our approach."
"Cian is and will remain a member of Bora-Hansgrohe, also in the coming 2024 season. He is contractually bound with us until 31 December 2024," the German team hit back.
Uijtdebroeks then issue a statement of his own through his agency A&J All Sports, which said that he had terminated his contract with Bora on December 1, and that legal proceedings had been initiated.
The photographs of the Belgian rider taking part in training in non-Bora kit added fuel to the fire at the weekend, with no clear resolution in sight.
"Good to have Cian Uijtdebroeks join us on the team ride today," Froome wrote with several crying-laughing emojis in the caption of his selfie.
To all intents and purposes, Uijtdebroeks still had a contract with Bora for next year, but it is now not known if the deal had been broken. Bora clearly do not believe that they have done anything to allow the move, while Uijtdebroeks and his management think he has left his contract, meaning the situation is far from being resolved.
For the mid-contract transfer to take place, both teams and the rider must agree to breaking the contract, as happened in the other direction when Primož Roglič moved the other way, and the UCI has to be ratify the deal.
Belgian and Dutch media outfit Wielerflits reported on Sunday that Bora is asking for compensation in the region of €1 million, but Jumbo-Visma is only willing to offer the equivalent of one year of Uijtdebroeks’ salary.
Neither team expanded on their initial statements as of Monday morning, adding to the intrigue around the whole situation.
When Wout van Aert signed for Jumbo-Visma in 2019, his team were caught up in a similar battle over an alleged breach of contract. His previous Sniper Cycling team and its manager, Nick Nuyens, were eventually awarded €662,000 in samages.
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