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Three Belgian cyclists employed by American teams RadioShack and HTC-Highroad might not be allowed to take the start of their national championships this Sunday because of unpaid social security contributions. The Belgian cycling federation RVLB has told the Gazet van Antwerpen that Ben Hermans and Sébastien Rosseler of team RadioShack and Jan Ghyselinck of HTC-Highroad will be excluded of the event taking place in Hooglede-Gits if they or their teams do not proceed to payment before this weekend.
"As their teams do not pay, they should do it but it's not the case," said RVLB sports secretary Marc Bollen. "We think it is very serious and we don't have a choice but to remain firm until the problem is solved. We hope the payment of the contributions will be made before Sunday. In that case, the three riders will be able to participate in the national championships. If not, they will be sidelined."
Contrary to the United States, pro riders in Belgium are obliged to adhere to the national social security system. "Apparently American law is different to ours. In Belgium, the social contributions of self-employed workers have to be in order. If the team doesn't pay them, then we consider that the rider has to," Bollen added.
Ben Hermans, one of the concerned riders, confirmed that his team did not cover his social security in Belgium but said that it didn't mean much to him. "The Belgian teams pay for their riders, but an American team like RadioShack doesn't. If it means I can't take to start on Sunday that's OK, I won't race. It's no big deal, the route doesn't suit me anyway," he said.