Wout van Aert at the Tour of Flanders.
Wout van Aert is on the hook for €662,000 after an appeals court ordered him to pay severance to Nick Nuyens, manager of the Sniper Cycling organization that owned his former team Veranda’s Willems-Crelan, for breach of contract.
The decision overturned a previous ruling that had been in Van Aert’s favor.
Van Aert was under contract to ride with Veranda’s Willems-Crelan through the end of 2019, but the multi-talented Belgian left the Belgian Pro Continental team in September of 2018 while the team was discussing a merger with Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij. Van Aert rode cyclocross races independently for several months, and then joined Jumbo-Visma in March of 2019. Nuyens sued.
Van Aert’s defense claimed that he had “urgent reason” to terminate his contract because Nuyens had tried to get coach Niels Albert to sign a statement blaming Van Aert for Albert’s own departure from the team. Initially, the court ruled in Van Aert’s favor.
On Wednesday, the labor court in Antwerp overturned that ruling. Van Aert must now pay severance, albeit at a lower amount than Nuyens had been seeking. The former Tour of Flanders winner sought over €1 million from Van Aert. Van Aert won’t have to pay quite so much, but he still owes €662,000 plus court costs following Wednesday’s decision.
Van Aert can still appeal Wednesday’s decision, but only on procedural grounds and no longer on the facts of the case.