Christina Watches Onfone and Reihs embroiled in dispute over rider’s salary
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Christina Watches Onfone and Reihs embroiled in dispute over rider’s salary

by Shane Stokes at 8:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Rider starts legal moves, team says he invalidated his contract

Claus HemboThe Christina Watches Onfone team and Danish rider Michael Reihs look set for a legal clash over a dispute relating to the latter’s unpaid salary.

According to Sporten TV2, the rider has not been paid since October, although he is contracted until the end of the season. The dispute stems from his move to the new Team Cult Energy setup after two seasons with the Christina Watches team.

Team chairman Claus Hembo (pictured) has explained his position today, saying that Reihs participated in the Team Cult Energy presentation on October 18th, appearing in front of billboards bearing the names Skelde Cycling and Cult, and also discussed future work with the team sponsor on his personal Facebook page.

This, according to Hembo, constitutes a breach of his contract with Christina Watches, which is not due to end until December 31st.

“For the duration of his contract, it is forbidden for a rider to work for other teams or to advertise sponsors other than the team's sponsors,” he said in a statement issued today.

“We consider Michael Reihs' involvement in Team Cult’s press conference on 18.10 [October 18th]…as doing work for other teams, as well as promoting other sponsors. Furthermore, we consider Reihs' communications on Facebook as being deeply unfair.”

He said that he considered the matter serious enough to immediately terminate the contract he had with Reihs, and that his actions were ‘in full compliance with applicable case law in this area.” Reihs’ is yet to respond.

The 33 year old rider had a quiet season in 2012 but was more successful last year. He won the 1.2-ranked Himmerland Rundt, was second in the 1.1 GP Herning and was third in the Danish road race championships behind Nicki Sorensen (Saxo Bank Tinkoff Bank) and Martin Mortensen (Leopard Trek).

The dispute is similar to the clash between Garmin-Transitions/Slipstream and Trent Lowe . The latter went to a training camp for the planned Pegasus Racing Team in November 2010; while he wore his-then team’s kit as required, he was photographed on a Scott bicycle rather than one of Garmin’s Felt machines.

Garmin Transitions manager Jonathan Vaughters refused to pay the final part of Lowe’s salary, saying that the rider had not asked permission to go to the new team’s camp. It led to a bitter fallout where Lowe said that Matt White had sent him to the controversial doctor Luis Garcia del Moral for blood tests – something which led Vaughters to fire White – and also to legal action between the two sides.

The Pegasus Racing Team subsequently collapsed prior to the start of the season.


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