Riders rise up at Rabobank

Will Oscar Freire get special treatment under the Rabobank fine system?

Will Oscar Freire get special treatment under the Rabobank fine system? (Image credit: Elmar Krings)

Riders are protesting against the list of fines for "etiquette" violations issued by Team Rabobank earlier this month. Riders have complained to both the Association of Professional Cyclists (PCA) and the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Dutch riders are looking for action from the VVBW, the national trade union for professional cyclists, whose lawyer Wil van Megen says the rules violate work laws. The VVBW and the legal staff of Rabobank are scheduled to meet early next month.

Van Megen told telesport.nl that the Rabobank rules "cross the legal lines. It amounts to absurdity."

The attorney also noted that some riders are afraid that the rules will not be applied evenly. He said that star sprinter and three-time World Champion Oscar Freire often shows up late, a violation which is punishable by a warning or a fine of up to 5,000 euro for repeated violations. The riders do not believe that the team would punish Freire as quickly as it would a young new-pro rider, Van Megen indicated.

Team spokesman Luuc Eisenga said that the whole matter had been discussed at the team's training camp. "Our riders' council knows nothing of a possible action," he said.

The Rabobank list of violations range from riding without a helmet to missing flights to giving unauthorised interviews, among others. The punishments range from warnings to dismissal, and are based on whether a rider earns more or less than 350,000 euro per year.(SW)

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