Alberto Contador “certainly played a role” in Quick Step's decision to end its co-operation with Specialized bikes, said Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere. The Belgian team announced on Friday that it would ride Eddy Merckx bikes for the coming three years.
As recently as ten days ago, Specialized had hoped to help attract Contador to Quick Step for the 2010 season, and has announced a personal deal with the Tour de France winner. However, Contador then announced that he would in all likelihood stay with Astana nex year, and it seems equally likely that Specialized will provide bikes to the Kazakh team.
"It all happened unexpectedly," Lefevere told Sporza.be. "Until recently there were no problems with Specialized, but we no longer shared the same vision. Wednesday we decided to part ways and then did it quickly."
Lefevere acknowledged to Sporza.be that the Contador action played a role in his decision to change bike providers, “but it's certainly not the only reason.”
Meanwhile, former champion Eddy Merckx was pleased to have his bikes back in the ProTour. "I am proud to take the plunge with a top team like Quick-Step," he said. "Our bikes are top and can certainly stand alongside the other brands. But in cycling it is not like in the Formula 1, where the car makes the difference."
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