Steegmans and Katusha in court over unpaid salary

Dispute stemming from refusal to sign team's anti-doping charter

Gert Steegmans and Team Katusha are having their days in court, a labour court in Geneva, Switzerland. The rider is suing the team for unpaid wages from the 2009 season.

Steegmans refused to sign the team's anti-doping charter prior to the Tour de France. After Toni Colom and Christian Pfannberger were suspended on doping charges, the team required its riders to sign the charter which included, among other things, a clause that that obliged a caught rider to pay back five times their salary.

When the Belgian refused to sign in late June, he was placed on inactive status by the team, and did not ride again for the rest of the season. He announced in the beginning of August that the contract had been terminated, but team manager Andre Tchmil denied this. Steegmans now claims that the team had not paid him from August through December, and he is suing to recover that money.

Steegmans appeared personally in court Monday evening. The trial is taking place in Switzerland, where the team is licensed. A decision is scheduled for March 5, but however it turns out, it is expected to be appealed.

Steegmans, 29, is riding for Team RadioShack this season, and finished 36th overall in the recent Tour Down Under. He turned pro in 2003 2ith Lotto-Domo and joined Quick Step in 2007, before moving to Katusha in 2009.

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