Frank Schleck to get two million in damages from Leopard AG - News Shorts

Katusha sign Baptiste Planckaert, Crocodile Trophy open to the public

Leopard AG ordered to pay Frank Schleck two million euros

Frank Schleck will get €2 million in damages from Leopard AG after the team fired him in 2013, according to the Swiss website NZZ.ch. The payment will go to Schleck and his company Winfrank GmBH after the Swiss Federal court held up a previous decision from CAS.

The issue stems from the 2013 season when Schleck was sacked by the RadioShack-Leopard team after a doping suspension following a positive test for the diuretic Xipamide. Schleck tested positive for the banned substance at the 2012 Tour de France and was handed down a retrospective 12-month ban in January the next year.

Despite his suspension, Schleck had continued to train with the squad and he had been due to return to racing just days after the team announced his sacking. Schleck was in the middle of a four-year contract with the RadioShack-Leopard team that was set to run from 2011 to 2014. Part of Schleck’s contract with the squad was an agreement that they would market his image rights. The court ruled that as the team had waited until June 2013 to fire Schleck they owed him and his company the two million.

Schleck returned to racing in 2014 after securing a contract with the new owners of the team, Trek. He announced his intention to retire from professional racing at the end of this season.

Fränk Schleck (Trek-Segafredo)

Katusha announce two-year deal for Baptiste Planckaert

Baptiste Planckaert has signed a two-year contract with Katusha from the 2017 season which will see the 27-year-old ride in the WorldTour for the first time in his career. The current Wallonie - Bruxelles rider has enjoyed a successful season thus far, winning the La Poly Normande and Tour du Finistère, along with a stage of the Czech Cycling Tour.

"I have hoped for a long time that a big team would come to me, but it was a very nice surprise that it was Team KATUSHA that did it," said Planckaert who also claimed the KOM classification at the Tour de Wallonie, and points classification at Baloise Belgium Tour and the Circuit des Ardennes.

"It's one of the best teams in the world. I am really excited," said Planckaert. "The time is right for me now to make this huge step forward. I am riding my best season ever, most likely because of a combination of better work in the winter, another team, a year older and stronger, and just some more experience, too. It will be an honor to work for Alexander Kristoff in the classics. He is already a real monument. On the other hand I will try to show my fast legs in other races too. For me 2017 can start now."

Katusha general manager Viacheslav Ekimov explained that Planckaert's consistency first brought him to his attention but expects the Belgian to play a different role at WorldTour level.

"What impressed me the most this year was Baptiste's regularity," Ekimov said. "From February until August he finished 39 times in the top ten. That is amazing. Baptiste deserves to make a step forwards, in his case two steps, immediately from a Continental to a WorldTour Team. We look forward to seeing him perform in bigger races, too. We don't expect from him the same number of top ten places; it will be most important that Team KATUSHA wins - with him or with someone else. I am convinced Baptiste will not disappoint us."

Stage winner Baptiste Planckaert (Wallonie Bruxelles)

Four stages of 2016 Crocodile Trophy open to the public

Race organisers of the Crocodile Trophy have announced four stages of the eight-stage race will open for the public in conjunction with Cairns MTB Club. The "Taste of the Croc" will take place on stages 1 and 2, and 7 and 8.

Orica-AIS' Annemiek van Vleuten has also been confirmed as one of the starters for the race.

"We are launching this supporting event especially for Australian and local riders, so that they can be a part of the legendary Crocodile Trophy", said Cairns MTB Club president, Frank Falappi. "If you've always wanted to 'do the Croc', this would be the ideal event to get into it."

Race organiser Gerhard Schoenbacher

"For overseas amateur racers it's the experience of a lifetime and even though we do get quite a few that come again and again, we know it's a big time commitment. We're hoping that this new supporting event will suit especially the Australian riders - if you're a local racer, you really only have to take one day off - the Friday for stage seven," Schoenbacher said.

The entry fee for two days is $220 and $390 for the four-day event.

The Crocodile Trophy peloton leaves Skybury Coffee Plantation on the morning of stage eight.

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