Skil-Shimano and Steve Houanard officially terminate contract
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Skil-Shimano and Steve Houanard officially terminate contract

by Ben Atkins at 1:14 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Dutch team officially opens the way for French rider to join AG2R-La Mondiale

steve houanardThe Skil-Shimano team has officially announced the termination of its contract with rider Steve Houanard. The Frenchman had originally signed on for another year with the Dutch team in July but less than a month later he changed his mind when the opportunity arose to step up to ProTeam level with AG2R-La Mondiale.

This was not the first time that a rider contracted to Skil-Shimano for the following year had signed for a different team. Fumiyuki Beppu opted to leave for the new RadioShack team last year; as one of the few Japanese riders at the top-level of the sport though, he was seen as important to the Dutch team’s second name sponsor Shimano, and so a tug-o-war took place.

Houanard’s separation from the team has been much more amicable though. Now that the 24-year-old’s season is over the contract has been dissolved.

“The Skil-Shimano team and Steve Houanard have agreed to terminate the labour agreement between them,” reads the team’s statement. “On August 2010, Steve Houanard signed an agreement with the AG2R La Mondiale Team. In order to enable Steve Houanard’s transfer, Skil-Shimano and Houanard settled this termination agreement.”

Perhaps unwilling to enter a Beppu-style battle with another bigger team, Skil-Shimano is happy to let the Frenchman join the French team. It has also managed to replace Houanard with a number of riders transferring in, ironically including Thomas Bonnin, a 21-year-old Frenchman who currently rides as a stagiere with AG2R-La Mondiale.

“Skil-Shimano earlier already stated that it was prepared to let Houanard go since it was able to contract a replacement,” the statement continues. “Houanard is now free to join his new team.”


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