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by Matt de Neef
January 8, 2020
Team Parkhotel Valkenburg has commenced legal proceedings against star rider Lorena Wiebes for an alleged breach of contract.
Wiebes is signed to the Dutch team through 2021 but made it clear in late 2019 that she’d like to leave the outfit to join a top-tier squad. Dutch broadcaster NOS reports that Wiebes has received offers from four such Women’s WorldTeams: Sunweb, Trek-Segafredo, CCC-Liv and Movistar.
The relationship between Wiebes and Parkhotel Valkenburg has soured in recent months with team management unwilling to release the 20-year-old from her contract. Wiebes said in late December that she’s accepted she might not be able to race for the first half of the year, until the UCI’s transfer window opens.
“I would like to go one step higher and there have also been discussions with Parkhotel,” Wiebes told NOS. “That has lasted so long that the relationship with the team’s management has been broken in such a way that I no longer want to ride for that team.
“So there is a good chance that I will no longer cycle because I no longer want to ride for Parkhotel. It has now taken so long that I have moved on. It is a shame that it went this way. Maybe I’ll do kickboxing then. I like that too.”
Parkhotel Valkenburg manager Esra Tromp said Wiebes’ desire to leave had created a significant headache for the team.
“After a very successful year and a contract extension with Wiebes, we have made investments towards the new season,” Tromp told NOS. “The fact that this has been changing at the last minute is something that we need to think about carefully and not give up.
“It is important that the whole team can build on contracts that have been agreed.”
Wiebes finished the 2019 season as the number-one rider in the UCI World Ranking. She accrued 15 victories including the Dutch road title, RideLondon Classique, all three stages and the overall at the Tour of Chongming Island, and the European Games road race.
Parkhotel Valkenburg will reportedly file proceedings at court in Alkmaar on Thursday.