Tour de France race doctor Porte takes legal action against ASO over breach of contract
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tour de France race doctor Porte takes legal action against ASO over breach of contract

by Conal Andrews at 8:54 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Has worked for a total of 39 years on ASO’s races

Longtime Tour de France race doctor Gerard Porte has taken race organisers ASO and the medical service company Mutuaide to a tribunal over what he says is a breach of employment contract.

Porte, who has been chief Tour doctor for almost 30 years, has said that he is saddened by his treatment, claiming that he has been abruptly sidelined without any recognition of his long service.

“Since ASO contracted out the medical service to Mutuaide (in 2010), I feel like a puppet: decisions are made without informing me," he told AFP.

“For the Tour de l'Avenir, in September just passed, they told me that my presence was not desirable and for Paris-Tours, I heard nothing.

"The principles were not respected: it reorganized my health care team [on the race] and imposed people on me, and it wants now to give me a fee-based contract even though I was an employee of ASO.”

Porte began working on the race 39 years ago. He initially acted in a medical nurse’s role, then became the head doctor. In that time he has dealt with the top names in the sport, including all the Tour champions. “I treated generations of riders,” said the 59 year old, who this year aided riders such as Frank Schleck after crashes. He works 80 days a year on ASO’s races, including the Tour de France, Paris-Nice, the Tour de l’Avenir and Criterium International. He also has a sports clinic in Paris.

His lawyer Gérard Welzer argues that his client held what he terms ‘a permanent contract as a head doctor,’ and said that this role has been ended improperly. His contention is the breaking of this contract has been done by Mutuaide in order to try to try to save on social security payments.

“Today, the sky falls on my head, I'm amazed: I've not been given any consideration, I am told that they no longer need me after 39 years of loyal service,” Porte said.

AFP said that neither ASO nor Mutuaide wished to comment.

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