Former world champion Philippe Gilbert has to pay back 300,000 euros in bonuses to a former company of Marc Coucke, money the rider earned in 2011 while riding for Omega Pharma-Lotto.
The team paid Gilbert €715,000 in bonuses from the 2011 season assuming that he would race with the team in 2012, but the Belgian rider signed with BMC for that year.
Philippe Gilbert had a fantastic season in 2011 riding for Omega Pharma-Lotto, winning Brabantse Pijl, Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Clasica San Sebastian and took the yellow jersey with the first stage victory in the Tour de France.
The court in Ghent ruled that Gilbert committed breach of contract when he signed with BMC Racing in 2012, reported Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. Marc Coucke’s management company (BCC) had to pay out bonuses of €715,000 on top of Gilbert’s €1.2 million salary. The Ghent Labour Court, however, has said that Gilbert had to pay the money back, at least part of it.
Gilbert has to pay only €300,000, which according to the judge is a “fair compensation”.
It is unlikely that the money goes directly to Marc Coucke. Gilbert can still appeal to the Labour Court. Moreover, following the sale of Omega Pharma, the Belgian Cycling Company was taken over by the American Perrigo.