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Wout van Aert terminates contract with Sniper Cycling

Belgian unilaterally ends contract leaving question marks over team's ProContinental chances for 2019

Joe Robinson
18 Sep 2018

Wout van Aert has decided to unilaterally terminate his contract with Sniper Cycling, with immediate effect, despite the team's best efforts to keep the cyclocross World Champion at the team. 

The team announced that Van Aert's contract had been ceased as of Monday 17th September, with the decision coming from the rider himself.

Sniper Cycling, known in the road peloton as Verandas Willems-Crelan, stated that this decision came 'despite the fact that the team management tried to resolve the situation last week, by offering him an improved contract for 2019.'

According to the team, the 24-year-old rejected all proposals from the team ending his partnership with the squad a season early.

The decision seems to have been sudden considering that the team posted a photo of van Aert, in his cyclocross rainbow jersey, with custom bikes just two days ago.

The loss of star rider has already raised question marks over the team's decision to make the move to ProContinental. The Belgian team announced that it would merge with Dutch holiday company-sponsored team Roompot for 2019, creating the Belgo-Dutch ProContinental team Roompot-Crelan. 

The team stated, at the time, that they would concentrate on racing the Spring Classics with van Aert at the helm. However, with him now departing, the team's ability to secure invites to races such as the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix have been put in doubt. 

Regardless of this, the team did state that 'as pointed out repeatedly, we wish to clarify that we will be a ProContinental cycling team in 2019 regardless.'

Other questions will also now surround which team van Aert will represent in the 'cross season, which started last weekend. Van Aert had already made an appearance in Crelan-Charles colours, last weekend, but is now effectively without a team or bikes.

The rider has already agreed on a pre-contract with WorldTour team LottoNL-Jumbo for the 2020 road season but it is unclear as to whether he will join the Dutch side a season early, therefore riding under LottoNL colours in this year's cyclocross season.

Time will tell, however, as van Aert is scheduled to ride the Waterloo Cyclocross on Sunday 23rd September in just five days' time.