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Team DSM deny Van Wilder is on the verge of breaking contract

Belgian Ilan Van Wilder of Team DSM celebrates on the podium in the white jersey for best young rider after the second stage of the 73rd edition of the Criterium du Dauphine cycling race 173 km between Brioude and Saugues France Monday 31 May 2021 BELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN Photo by DAVID STOCKMANBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images
Ilan Van Wilder (Team DSM) in the white young rider's jersey midway through the 2021 Critérium du Dauphiné (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Ilan Van Wilder could become the latest Team DSM rider to break his contract with the German squad, according to a report in Dutch media, though the team have dismissed the possibility of an early departure for the rider who turned pro with them last season.

The 21-year-old Van Wilder is a highly rated young rider who finished on the podium of the Tour de l'Avenir in 2019 and has impressed this season. In recent months, he has taken top-five placings in time trials at the Tour de Romandie, Critérium du Dauphiné, and Belgian National Championships.

According to a report on Dutch website WielerFlits, Van Wilder is already negotiating with other teams for 2022, while he and DSM are discussing the termination of his contract.

The report suggests disagreements between Van Wilder and team management over equipment as being among the issues that have contributed to the breakdown in relations, with the two parties having already held talks over the future last week.

The team denied the report in a statement issued to Cyclingnews.

"Ilan has a contract until the end of 2022 and we will not change that," read the statement. "So, Ilan will remain part of the team for a minimum of another one and a half years, during which the team will keep focusing on his development."

If Van Wilder were in fact to depart the team before his neo-pro contract expires at the end of 2022, he would be the seventh rider to leave mid-contract since Marcel Kittel's move to Etixx-QuickStep in 2016.

Since then, Warren Barguil left for Fortuneo-Oscaro (now Arkéa-Samsic) in 2018 citing a desire to lead his own team, Edward Theuns moved back to Trek-Segafredo after one season due to "differing visions" with team management, and Tom Dumoulin broke a contract two years early to join Jumbo-Visma last year after raising concerns over the squad's development, transfer policy, and handling of injuries.

This season, DSM lost Michael Matthews to Team BikeExchange after the Australian sprinter was left out of their 2020 Tour de France squad, while Marc Hirschi – a breakthrough star of last year's Tour – and the team reached a 'settlement agreement' to terminate his contract in January, with the Swiss rider saying he was unable to explain what had led to the split.

Despite the team's list of high-profile departures, DSM continue to attract top-level young talent. Eighteen-year-old German Marco Brenner turned pro with the team straight from the junior ranks this season alongside Hagens Berman Axeon alumnus Kevin Vermaerke and promising Norwegian Andreas Leknessund, while two-time U23 Giro podium finished Henri Vandenabeele joins from the DSM development squad next season.