Eddy Merckx Cycles confirms anticipated end of Quick Step partnership
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Monday, October 31, 2011

Eddy Merckx Cycles confirms anticipated end of Quick Step partnership

by VeloNation Press at 4:26 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tech News
 
Way cleared for Specialized to join team once again

Tom BoonenIt’s been long anticipated that Specialized will supply the bikes to the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team next season but aside from a hastily-withdrawn press release announcing the deal, no confirmation has been made. Things moved a step forward today with the announcement by the team that Eddy Merckx Cycles would indeed cease its involvement at the end of the second year of a three year deal, thus clearing the way for a change.

“Riding Eddy Merckx bikes, the team has achieved some fine results, including two stages in the Giro d’Italia, two stages and two days in yellow in the 2010 Tour de France, the Tour of Belgium, the Belgian and French National Championships and the 2011 Gent-Wevelgem,” stated team manager Patrick Lefevere.

He thanked the Belgian company for its collaboration, which ironically started when Specialized decided to leave the team at the end of 2009. It moved to the Astana team then, backing Alberto Contador with a lucrative personal contract and also supplying frames to the Kazakh squad.

Specialized also began providing its bikes then to the Saxo Bank SunGard team, and then in 2011 it started working with HTC Highroad.

In the meantime, the Eddy Merckx company built its brand awareness with the team of Tom Boonen and Sylvain Chavanel. “We look back with great pleasure and pride at our past cooperation” company CEO Kurt Moons said. “We worked together for two fantastic years and put our brand on the global map.

“What’s more, we have proven that the Eddy Merckx Cycles products are amongst the most high-tech and well balanced bicycles in the peloton today, which for us is an important confirmation for the future expansion of the company. That’s why we are certainly not ruling out sponsoring at Pro Tour level.”

Given that a year remained of its initial three year agreement, it is presumed that the bike company received a settlement for agreeing to step aside.

Eddy Merckx Cycles will continue supplying bikes to the Belgian Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator and the Wallonie-Bruxelles - Crédit Agricole cycling teams. It will also give its machines to the Eddy Merckx – Indeland squad in Germany.

The expectation that Specialized was moving to Omega Pharma-Quick Step was fuelled by comments by incoming rider Tony Martin that he would remain on the machines next year. Many riders are moving across from HTC Highroad, including Martin, Peter and Martin Velits, Frantisek Rabon, Bert Grabsch and Matt Brammeier.

A rumoured transfer by their team-mate Mark Cavendish never materialised, though, with the Briton heading instead to the Sky Procycling team.

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