Veneberg to sue Rabobank over contract

Thorwald Veneberg is going to sue Team Rabobank because he has not been offered a new contract for 2008. The Dutch rider claims that under Netherlands law that, since he has had a contract with the team since January 1, 2001, he should be considered under contract for an indefinite period of time.

The 30 year-old Veneberg was a solid member of the Rabobank team, and won the 2005 Grote Scheldeprijs - Vlaanderen before suffering a horrendous 2006 season which saw him sick or injured for most of the year. He recovered and was back racing for the team in January's Tour of Qatar, and put in a full season.

His lawyer, Frank ter Huurne, said that under Dutch law, an employee is considered to be hired for an indefinite period after 36 months or four employment contracts. "The team has not given any grounds for his dismissal in 2008. For this reason we will file a suit in Breda that Thorwald must be included in all activities of the Rabo-Team in 2008," he told De Telegraaf.

Interim team manager Henri van der Aat said that the team would contest the case. "On moral grounds alone I find that Veneberg can't do this," he said. "It is possible that a lot of cyclists could suffer because of his action. In cycling we always work with yearly contracts. In contrast to football, we have no separate collective labour agreement. If Veneberg wins this matter, then managing a team will be impossible. It would mean that you have to keep everyone on until they are old enough to retire."

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