Skil-Shimano terminates contract with Beppu

Fumiyuki Beppu (Skil-Shimano) signs an autograph.

Fumiyuki Beppu (Skil-Shimano) signs an autograph. (Image credit: AFP)

Skil-Shimano has reached agreement with Fumiyuki Beppu to terminate the Japanese rider's contract with the team. Beppu has agreed to pay out the final year of his contract with the Dutch Professional Continental team and will now sign with Team RadioShack for the 2010 season.

Beppu's future has been in limbo since he was named on the rosters of both Skil-Shimano and RadioShack at the start of the year. The 26-year-old rider had reached a verbal agreement to join the latter squad despite having a year to run on his three-year contract with Skil-Shimano. Informed of the conflict in early January, RadioShack had agreed to leave Beppu to negotiate with his existing team.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Skil-Shimano said Beppu had acknowledged the validity of his contract with the team and agreed pay an undisclosed sum in order to end the stand-off.

"[Fumiyuki Beppu] was offered the option of getting out of his contract through payment of non-negotiable compensation to his employer, bearing in mind the team is no longer confident of a continued successful relationship due to the rider's actions a few months ago," read the statement.

Beppu's case was one of a number of contentious off-season rider transfers that also included Team Sky's acquisition of under-contract riders Ben Swift (from Katusha) and Bradley Wiggins (from Garmin-Slipstream). Last month, International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid indicated that sport's governing body may move to tighten transfer regulations.

Skil-Shimano stressed today that their firm stance over the terms of Beppu's contract had been to prevent a precedent being set. "[Beppu's] acknowledgment was a point of principle for Skil-Shimano, because an alternative reading would have undermined relations between teams and riders under contract, and existing contracts would no longer have been binding."

ProTour squad RadioShack confirmed to Cyclingnews on Wednesday that Beppu will now take his place with the team and will this week attend a training camp with his new teammates in Calpe, Spain, beginning on Thursday.

Skil-Shimano said they had no plans to replace Beppu on their roster for 2010 and will continue with a 24-rider line-up. "The team is also confident its four remaining Asian riders will be able to make an undiminished contribution to the development and promotion of cycling in China and Japan, which is one of the goals of Skil-Shimano," said the team.

Last July, Beppu became one of the first two Japanese riders to complete the Tour de France, with compatriot Yukiya Arashiro (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) also reaching Paris in the 2009 edition of the race.

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