Skil-Shimano cycling team have finally agreed to annul Fumiyuki Beppu's contract after the Japanese rider ignored rules and reached a verbal agreement to join Lance Armstrong's RadioShack team.
Beppu had a year left on his contract with Skil-Shimano, which debuted at the Tour de France last year, but apparently ignored this on his way to agreeing to join RadioShack without informing his team.
Skil said Wednesday they had "agreed to annul" Beppu's contract, but only after establishing his misdemeanour and forcing him to pay compensation.
A statement added: "Beppu recently reached a verbal agreement with Team RadioShack, without permission and without notifying Skil Shimano.
"The 26-year-old has now acknowledged that he has a valid contract with Skil-Shimano and is unable to leave the team and sign a contract elsewhere without Skil-Shimano's permission.
"This acknowledgment was a point of principle for Skil-Shimano, because an alternative reading would have undermined relations between teams and riders under contract, and existing contracts would no longer have been binding.
"After this principle decision .... Beppu was offered the option of getting out of his contract through payment of non-negotiable compensation to his employer, bearing in mind the team is no longer confident of a continued successful relationship due to the rider's actions a few months ago."
Skil said they had no plans to replace Beppu, who despite racing with Armstrong's former team, Discovery Channel, from 2005-2006 did not take part in any major races.
The 26-year-old Japanese has yet to claim a major victory in Europe.
Skil meanwhile hope the other Asian riders on their team don't get similar ideas to Beppu's.
"The team will continue to focus on the current roster of riders and prepare thoroughly for the coming season," added the statement.
"The team is also confident its four remaining Asian riders will be able to make an undiminished contribution to the development and promotion of cycling in China and Japan, which is one of the goals of Skil-Shimano."
© AFP 2010
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