Flecha to leave Rabobank

Team denies reports of downsize in 2010 - UPDATED

Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha turned down a new contract and is leaving Rabobank at the end of the current season, after four years with the Dutch squad.

Rabobank's Press Officer Luuc Eisenga confirmed to Cyclingnews on Tuesday that 31-year-old Flecha would be departing at the end of the season.

"We are sorry he is leaving and we are grateful for four years with him," said Eisenga. " He was always been very motivated and is a very special person. We understand that he would want a change and we wish him all the best."

According to reports published in Belgian and Dutch newspapers Het Nieuwsblad and De Telegraaf, respectively, Flecha will join new British team, Sky. However, both Juan Antonio Flecha and Sky played down the reports on Tuesday.

"I'm surprised, I have not spoken with those newspapers," Flecha told Cyclingnews. "At this time I can't comment on it, I need to first work with the team [Rabobank]."

"I can't confirm anything until September 1," said Sky team manager Scott Sunderland when speaking to Cyclingnews on Tuesday morning. "To do so would risk fines of up to 10,000 euro per rider."

Flecha won once in his time at the Dutch team Rabobank, at the 2008 Circuit Franco-Belge. He is a consistent performer in the Spring Classics and has had three top ten finishes at Paris-Roubaix in the last four years. He was second in the 2007 edition of the French Classic.

Eisenga also played down a report in Het Nieuwsblad that said Rabobank will downsize its rider roster in the coming season. The report stated that Rabobank will only have 26 riders instead of 30 for the 2010 season. However, Eisenga said that the team has already confirmed a most of its riders for next season.

"If it gets smaller then it will only be by a little," he said. "The team already have over 25 contracts signed for the coming year."

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