Yesterday it was announced that a verbal agreement had been reached between team manager Hilaire van der Schueren and Bjorn Leukemans that the classics star would join the new Wanty team for next season. Today the Belgian tells Het Nieuwsblad that he found their proposal disrespectful and immediately shut down the negotiations.
Yesterday Hilaire van der Schueren announced that he would set up a new pro continental team on the ashes of the current Vacansoleil team and had signed a contract with construction company Wanty to become main sponsor. According to van der Schueren, a verbal agreement had been reached with Bjorn Leukemans who would be leader of the squad.
Apparently, there has been a clear misunderstanding between the two parties. Today Leukemans denies the claims, stating that he finds the behaviour of the new team completely inappropriate.
"I talked only once with that team," he told Het Nieuwsblad. "But after that conversation, I emailed them with the message that I found their proposal disrespectful. For a quarter of my current salary I'm not going to do my best all year round. They did not use the current market situation, they abuse it."
Despite Leukemans' comments, van der Schueren hasn't given up hope of signing the current Vacansoleil rider and plans to continue discussions during the Eurometropole Tour which starts tomorrow. If those negotiations fail, he has a back-up plan for the classics.
"During the Eurometropole Tour the talks between the team and Bjorn Leukemans will be resumed," he told Het Nieuwblad. "If we do not reach an agreement with Leukemans, we will contact Juan Antonio Flecha. He can also play the role of leader in the classics."
Yesterday van der Schueren said that Flecha had indicated that he would like to ride for another season before ending his career.
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