Skil-Shimano has been surprised by news that Fumiyuki Beppu has signed with Team RadioShack, and say that they expect the Japanese rider to ride out the final year of his current contract with the Dutch squad in 2010.
Beppu was named as part of the inaugural RadioShack roster on Monday evening, but had also been named as part of Skil-Shimano's 2010 line-up on November 11. Skil-Shimano's media officer Benny Ceulen told Cyclingnews on Tuesday that the first the team had heard of Beppu's apparent move to RadioShack came from media reports of the American team's announcement on Monday.
"For our team it's a big surprise. He has a valid contract with Skil-Shimano for 2010," said Ceulen. "Our team manager Iwan Spekenbrink hasn't been able to get in contact with [RadioShack Team Manager] Johan Bruyneel or Beppu to find out what is going on.
"In our opinion he will ride with us next season."
RadioShack told Cyclingnews on Tuesday morning that Beppu had confirmed his contract with the team this month and that he had been an important signing for the team's bicycle sponsor, Trek. Equally, as the more recognisable of the two Japanese riders on the Skil-Shimano roster, he is of particular significance to the team's Japanese co-sponsor, Shimano.
International Cycling Union (UCI) regulations state that a rider cannot sign with a new team while they are under a valid contract unless they have the express permission of the UCI. The regulations also state that a team signing a rider who is already under contract can face a fine of up to 30,000 Swiss Francs, with the rider himself subject to a fine of between 300 and 2000 Swiss Francs.
According to the terms of Beppu's contract with Skil-Shimano the earliest he would be able to leave the team would be December 31, 2010.
Skil-Shimano said they will inform the UCI of the apparent conflict, but stressed that the priority for them was to clarify the situation with both RadioShack and Beppu before taking any further action.
"This is a matter between the teams and the rider, but we will inform the UCI of the situation. We want to verify if it is true. When we have spoken to Beppu and Bruyneel we'll work out what our next steps will be from there."
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