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Unemployed riders sue Relax – GAM

By Monika Prell

Two members of the now defunct Relax-GAM team are suing the companies which were to sponsor the squad. Dani Moreno and Raúl Santamarta filed charges against the president of Deporpublic, Augusto Castañeda, against the Relax-GAM team, and against the two companies that were to sponsor the team.

Both riders had a sportive agreement and a pre-contract for this season with the team, which fell apart after the loss of GAM and the team's subsequent failure to get a UCI license, and claim economic and damage to their careers because it is too late to find another squad.

Antonio Vaquerizas, the representative of Moreno and Santamarta, announced that Dani Moreno had a contract with Relax Fuenlabrada "for one year and with the option for one more year", and that "they owe him 17,000 Euros for last year's season and his salary for this one amounts 120,000 Euros." Vaquerizas also said that they had taken up the situation with the UCI in hopes of getting funds from the bank guarantees from the team for 2007 and 2008.

26-year-old Moreno, who won the 2007 Escalada a Montjuic, one stage of the Vuelta a Chihuahua and finished second in a stage of the Vuelta a España, has been unable to find another team. Vaquerizas said, "We are talking to the ProTour teams, because our intention is that he will participate in one of the Grand Tours this year, but the majority of the teams don't have the money to pay him. He might have to ride gratis or for half of his salary if he finds a team", added Vaquerizas. 2008 would have been Santamarta's first season as professional rider.

The parties met Wednesday with Castañeda and other representatives of Relax - GAM, but no agreement was reached, so that now the case will be taken to the courts.

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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.