Jonathan Cantwell is suing Drapac Professional Cycling for more than $300,000 after his contract with the team was cancelled a year early.
According to documents lodged with the Victorian County Court last week, and as reported by the Herald Sun newspaper, Cantwell signed a two-year contract with Drapac for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, but was told in October 2014 that he had been suspended from the team. Cantwell claims his contract was terminated a month later, with general manager Jonathan Breekveldt notifying Cantwell in writing.
In his submission to the court, Cantwell suggests that his suspension and early termination were unlawful and done without adequate reason. While Cantwell’s contract with the team did specify grounds on which it could be terminated without notice — such as serious misconduct or bringing the team or sponsors into disrepute — Cantwell claims he complied with his contractual requirements.
CyclingTips understands that Drapac Professional Cycling management had concerns about Cantwell’s dedication to training and that he was too focused on his job with the Australian arm of SwiftCarbon, Drapac’s bike supplier.
It was Cantwell’s personal connection with SwiftCarbon founder Mark Blewett that lead to the bike brand’s sponsorship of Drapac; a sponsorship that began in 2014 and continues today. CyclingTips understands that Cantwell’s contract with Drapac included a requirement to develop the Australian arm of SwiftCarbon.
The video above shows an interview Cantwell did with The Bike Lane shortly after signing with Drapac.
Cantwell completed 48 race days during his season with Drapac. His best result was a second place on stage 8 of the Tour of Hainan — his final race with the team. He also achieved another seven top-five finishes throughout the year.
Cantwell claims that his suspension and termination cost him $297,734 in lost earnings, and is claiming this amount plus interest and legal costs.
Jonathan Cantwell joined the professional ranks in 2008 with the US-based Jittery Joe’s Pro Cycling Team. He spent three years racing for the Australian Fly V team (2009-2011) and had been slated to take part in the ill-fated Pegasus Sports team in 2011. In 2012 he made his WorldTour debut with SaxoBank, racing with the team for two years — which included a Tour de France berth in 2012 — before joining Drapac in 2014.
Cantwell hasn’t had a professional contract since leaving Drapac at the end of 2014. Instead he has focused his energy on SwiftCarbon Australia where is currently CEO.
Cantwell declined an invitation to comment when approached by CyclingTips.