Steegmans and Katusha in court over 2009 salary
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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Steegmans and Katusha in court over 2009 salary

by Ben Atkins at 9:54 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Belgian sprinter Gert Steegmans was in court in Geneva, Switzerland with Katusha, his former team, over the non-payment of his salary in the second half of last year, according to Het Nieuwsblad. Steegmans is demanding that the Russian team honours his full contractual salary even though he didn’t race after June’s Dauphiné Libéré.

The dispute with the team originates with Steegmans’ refusal to sign an internal anti-doping charter, brought in last summer. The positive tests for EPO returned by Katusha riders Antonio Colom and Christian Pfannberger led to the team demanding that all its riders agree to pay five-times their annual salary in the event of a positive doping test.

All other riders on Katusha’s roster signed the agreement, but Steegmans refused; the team responded by removing him from its active roster, ending his season in early summer. As he was no longer racing, the team followed by stopping his salary payments in August.

Steegmans, who now rides for Lance Armstrong’s RadioShack team, demands that the missing payments be made; Katusha have responded by accusing the Belgian of unprofessionalism.

Steegmans signed for Katusha in 2009 after two highly successful seasons with the Belgian Quick Step team. His highest profile wins included two Tour de France stages – in Gent Belgium in 2007 and the prestigious Champs-Elysées stage in Paris in 2008. Despite these successes, he tired of playing a secondary role to the team’s big star Tom Boonen.

The move to the Russian team meant an increased salary and, Steegmans hoped, more of a leadership role. His season started well with a victory in the Trofeo Mallorca and a stage in the Ruta del Sol in February, but missed most of the big races of the year due to the dispute over the anti-doping agreement.

A verdict is expected on March 5th. The case is taking place in Switzerland because it is the country where the Russian-sponsored Katusha team is registered.


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