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Dan Martin on the front on the Col de la Croix de Fer during the 2015 Tour de France (Photo: Radu Razvan)

The ongoing controversy around the future of young Belgian rider, Cian Uijtdebroeks, has been the story of the last week and now former pro rider Dan Martin has weighed in with his view.

Soudal-QuickStep boss, Patrick Lefeverehas suggested cycling introduce a soccer-style transfer market – where athletes can be sold between teams. But Martin believes riders have to reflect on the agreements they enter into with teams, even if they make rapid progress beyond their current salary level.

He also believes all parties, riders included, must accept there is risk involved when a deal is agreed, especially young cyclists signing multi-year contracts. Uijtdebroeks was signed, aged 18 years, by Bora-hansgrohe, though he now claims to have terminated that deal a year early, on December 1st.

“I do think riders need to understand and respect long term contracts are a risk on both sides,” Martin said. “If bad luck strikes, or expectations not met, the teams cannot just not pay a rider. So if things go well, a rider can’t just leave a team because somebody is willing to pay more!”

The tug of war over Uijtdebroeks is between Bora-hansgrohe, who signed him for three seasons straight out of the junior ranks, and Visma-Lease a Bike. The Dutch team said last Saturday it had signed him – as a future team leader – for four years.

However, Bora-hansgrohe quickly hit back with a statement of its own, saying Uijtdebroeks was its rider until the end of next year.

In recent days, the 20-year-old – who was 8th overall at this year’s Vuelta – has joined the Visma-Lease a Bike training camp in Spain, rather than joining Bora-hansgrohe’s camp.

It appears Uijtdebroeks and his agents, AEJ Allsports, believe they terminated the rider’s contract with Bora-hansgrohe on December 1st by paying them what Uijtdebroeks would have received in the final year of his deal in 2024.

It is reported Bora-hansgrohe wants a €1 million buy-out fee to allow the contract be broken, even though Uijtdebroeks was earning about €100,000 per year approximately.

Primož Roglič moved the other way – breaking his contract with Visma-Lease a Bike a year early to join Bora-hansgrohe – with a €3 million fee reported in the media. And former Irish international rider Martin wonders why the transfers of the two riders weren’t somehow combined into one transaction.

“Bora wanted to sign Roglic from Jumbo Visma and did. (Visa-Lease a Bike) want Uijtdebroeks. Have to wonder why they didn’t leverage Roglic in this deal and instead have caused a load of disruption. Or maybe they did try, were told no and resorted to this.”

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