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Ralph Denk is now getting a taste of his own medicine from Visma-Lease a Bike, according to Soudal-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere

Ralph Denk’s Bora-hansgrphe and Visma-Lease a Bike’s Richard Plugge may now be in a tug of war over the future of young Belgian rider, Cian Uijtdebroeks, but some rival World Tour team bosses have little sympathy for them.

Plugge is also head of the AIGCP, the teams’ association, and quite clearly how his team has conducted itself in trying to secure the services of Uijtdebroeks from Bora-hansgrohe, where he has one year left to run on his contract, has come under the spotlight.

Cofidis manager, Cedric Vasseur, is clearly very unimpressed and took to X, formerly Twitter, to issue an outraged call for Plugge’s resignation from the AIGCP.

“What is that again for the @AigcpOfficial president??? You have to respect the rules and resign immediately!!! Get out,” he said.

Meanwhile, Soudal-QuickStep boss has sharply criticised Bora’s Denk, strongly implying that the German had engaged in sharp practice himself and was now getting a taste of his own medicine.

He accused Denk of trying to entice Remco Evenepoel away from Soudal-QuickStep and reneging on an agreement they reached about when Evenepoel might be approached by Bora-hansgrohe for talks.

Lefevere added contracts were put in place to be honoured and they could only be broken if the rider and both the team he was leaving and intending to join were all in agreement. He said he had two years ago reached a gentleman’s agreement around Evenepoel, from the end of 2021, with Denk which was completely ignored.

Denk insisted on making Evenepoel a written offer long before the deadline Lefevere said was agreed had passed.

“My opinion Cian Uijtdebroeks has an agreement until end of 2024. He toke an agent, A&J All Sports. He knew the situation, (the) UCI had to oblige their own rules,” he said. “Only if three parties are agreed there can be a transfers with the authorisation from UCI.

“On 21st January, 2021, I met Ralph Denk in Brussels. We agreed to wait to do an offer at Remco Evenepoel until at least end of March after I released my riders if I didn’t had a future. March 8th, he did an written offer to the father of Remco. So please don’t cry now.”

Visma-Lease a Bike on Saturday evening released a statement saying it had signed Uijtdebroeks. It issued the statement quoting Uijtdebroeks, saying how delighted he was with his new four-year contract.

However, Bora-hansgrohe then followed up with its own, much briefer, statement saying the rider was still on its roster at present and for next year, at the end of which his contract would expire.

The rider’s agents, A&J All Sports, then took to Instagram to post a statement of its own, which effectively revealed the situation between Uijtdebroeks and Bora-hansgrohe was still not resolved, though insisting his contract ended nine days ago.

“The agreement between Cian Uijtdebroeks and Bora-Hansgrohe has been terminated on December 1st, 2023,” it said. “Legal proceedings already have bee initiated by Cian and the UCI is aware of the termination of the agreement.

“Cian is confident about the outcome of the pending procedure and will refrain from further comments at this time. Of course, Cian is excited and looking forward to the future cooperation with Team Visma-Lease a Bike starting next season.”

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