Saronni doesn’t answer key question about Aru contract with Astana

Clause or no clause?

Fabio Aru left Astana and signed a three year contract with EAU Team Emirates. That’s either a clean and simple and, most importantly, legal switch or it isn’t.

The Aru camp says yes and Astana team boss Alexander Vinokourov says no, there was a clause in their contract with Aru that gives them the right to keep him if they match the other team’s offer.

Who’s right? We certainly have no idea after Aru’s new team manager Carlo Saronni didn’t not address the existence of this clause in his interview with cyclingnews. That strikes us as odd as Saronni seemed to imply that he never even bothered to look at Aru’s old contract with Astana.

A careful review of the stipulations in Aru’s Astana deal would seem to be basic due diligence. If you want to sign someone to a better offer, you certainly take a close look at his previous one. You’d also double check to see if there were any issues that might make getting Aru a more difficult legal task.

“For me there’s no question because we didn’t work on Fabio’s pervious contract, we only worked on the plan for next year. I can’t say anything about the previous agreement because I don’t know,” said Saronni. “The deal we have was a normal one and it’s for the next three seasons. It a standard agreement that we have with all our other riders and there was no problem from our side.”

What he’s saying is he didn’t think it was important to look at the other side? He didn’t do the basic research to determine if there would be any barriers in signing Aru away from Astana — like a clause that says they can match any offer? This seems clueless and unprofessional.

This is a big deal transfer of a top young stage racer. In 2014 he took third overall in the Giro d’Italia and fifth in the Vuelta a España. The following year, he finished second in the Giro d’Italia before winning the 2015 Vuelta a Espana.

It’s a major signing for EAU Team Emirates and a major loss for Astana, a WorldTour team with no proven stage race talent to replace Aru. Now, Vinokourov is a man who likes to issue threats and create controversy. Perhaps he’s just jerking Aru around with a contract clause that doesn’t exist. Still, the fact that Saronni doesn’t seem to know — or even care — what was in Aru’s Astana contract is strange.


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