A Belgian court has ordered Philippe Gilbert to repay the former Omega Pharma-Lotto team 300,000 Euros, ruling that he committed a breach of contract by signing with BMC Racing Team for the 2012 season.
In 2011, Gilbert, in his third year with the Belgian team, won all three Ardennes Classics: Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, as well as Brabantse Pijl. These wins gave him 715,000 Euros in bonuses, in addition to his 1.2 million Euro salary, according to Nieuwsblad.be.
In March 2010, Gilbert had extended his contract through 2011, with an option for 2012. However, he chose not to use that option and signed with BMC as of 2012.
A Gent labour court has now ordered the payment to be made to Belgian Cycling Company, which managed the team. The judge ruled that Gilbert had committed breach of contract in 2011, but that while there was uncertainty about the validity of the 2012 option, he did not need to pay direct compensation for 2012.
However, the judge ruled, the team paid the 715,000 Euros in bonuses on the assumption that Gilbert would again lead the team in 2012. The judge said that Gilbert did not need to repay the full amount, but that 300,000 Euros was "fair compensation."
Gilbert can appeal the ruling. The money would not go to Coucke, according to Nieuwsblad.be, but to Belgian Cycling Company, which was sold along with Omega Pharma, to the US firm Perrigo Co. Plc.
The former World Champion has signed a one-year contract with QuickStep for 2017.