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Ilan Van Wilder transfers from Team DSM to QuickStep

Ilan Van Wilder (Team DSM) celebrates white jersey for best young rider after the second stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné
Ilan Van Wilder (Team DSM) celebrates white jersey for best young rider after the second stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Ilan Van Wilder and Team DSM have agreed to end the rider's contract with immediate effect after a transfer negotiation was agreed with Patrick Lefevere's Deceuninck-QuickStep team. Van Wilder and Team DSM has been in the midst of a contractual dispute after the rider attempted to free himself from the team despite a deal in place for 2022. 

Cyclingnews understands that as the agreement ultimately came down to a transfer, financial terms were also agreed, with Van Wilder free to link up with the Belgian team ahead of next season.

The 21-year-old Belgian turned professional with Team DSM in 2020 and signed a three-year contract having enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks. He finished third in the 2019 Tour de l'Avenir and looked set for a promising career at the German-registered squad.

However, he had grown dissatisfied with the team in 2021 and expressed his desire for an early exit, notably when he was left out of the squad for this year's Vuelta a España. The team had initially stood in Van Wilder's way when he and his agent openly looked to terminate the rider's contract and a court date was set for November before being dramatically cancelled with rumors circulating that a compromise had been agreed. 

“It was a no go that a rider could attempt to force his way out of a contract by making public statements or involving a court, and we would have refused to facilitate a transfer in that way. We were open to the possibilities of a transfer in a proper way and on the right basis. It is good to see that Ilan and his agent allowed the two teams to work out a transfer in the correct manner. We wish Ilan and Deceuninck–Quick-Step all the best," Team DSM CEO Iwan Spekenbrink said in a statement sent to the media.

Lefevere also released a statement on behalf of his team: “We are happy to sign with Ilan, a rider who we are confident can progress within our ranks and bring something to the team. We believe Ilan will be of added value to our GC ambitions and are pleased that after some good conversations with Team DSM, we were able to bring him on board.”

Van Wilder become the latest in a line of riders who have broken their contracts at DSM and left for other teams. Marcel Kittel started the trend with a move to Etixx-QuickStep, with Warren Barguil leaving for Fortuneo-Oscaro (now Arkéa-Samsic) in 2018.

Edward Theuns moved back to Trek-Segafredo after just a short stint at the team, with Tom Dumoulin breaking his contract two years early in order to sign for rival Jumbo-Visma. Michael Matthews left with a year still on his contract to rejoin Team BikeExchange, before Marc Hirschi reached a settlement agreement with the team keen for him to go at the end of last year.

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Daniel Benson

 Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.