Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Lighter posting for the next fortnight as I am engrossed in the 2021 Tour de France.
But, I am so impressed with the range of New York Contract Law Decisions, who has directed me to a decision of the Antwerp labor court, I had to make time to report on the Wout van Aert case.
Who is Wout van Aert? Well, he's a talented cyclist
He is currently third in the general classification of the Tour de France after finishing 20th last year, and although he did not finish the 2019 edition, he won two stages (one was a team time trial, but still) before crashing into some fencing in a time trial. Before becoming a road cyclist, he was a dominant cyclo-cross rider. I'm not sure what that is exactly, but it seems to involve getting dirty and sometimes having to carry your bike up stairs and also ride it down stairs and just about anything else.
As recounted here, in 2018, van Aert rode with team Verandas Willems-Crelan (Verandas), but he was dissatisfied on that team and was due to transfer to Jumbo-Visma in 2020. Jumbo was willing to take van Aert a year early, and so he jumped ship and began riding with Jumbo in March 2019. Verandas sued, seeking $1.3 million in damages relating to lost sponsorships once the team lost its star rider. van Aert alleges that the team had defaulted on the agreement. It's not clear how. He won in the first round in 2019. Somehow, the case wound up back in court, and the Belgian court has now sided with Verandas, awarding just over $800,000.
An appeal is expected. Stay tuned.