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Belgian bike company to focus on developing talent in Pro Continental and Continental ranks
After two years of collaboration, the Quick Step Cycling Team and Eddy Merckx Cycles will part ways in 2012, the Belgian bicycle company announced today.
"We look back with great pleasure and pride at our past cooperation," said Kurt Moons, CEO of Eddy Merckx Cycles. "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 the ProTour level."
"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," said Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere.
Although it hasn't officially been announced, riders have pointed to Specialized as the new bicycle sponsor for the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team in 2012, leaving Eddy Merckx Cycles with no presence in the ProTour peloton next season. However, the Belgian bike manufacturer will still have a place in the pro ranks as it focuses on developing talent with Belgium's Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator and Wallonie-Bruxelles-Crédit Agricole teams plus Germany's Eddy Merckx-Indeland squad.