Luxembourg champion Fränk Schleck has extended his contract with Team CSC for another three years. The 25 year-old talent will therefore continue to develop his capabilities with the Danish squad until 2008 at least, while another young prodigy, 23 year-old German Linus Gerdemann, has decided to leave Bjarne Riis and continue with T-Mobile instead.
"Fränk has grown tremendously while he has been with us and we are happy to be able to extend our deal with him," said team manager Riis about Schleck, who finished the 2005 season with podium spots in Züri Metzgete, Giro dell'Emilia and Giro di Lombardia. "He is one of the big profiles of the future and as it's turned out that he fits perfectly on our team. We have never doubted his potential and the results he's brought home this year only go to show that he has class." the Luxembourger finished the 2005 season in 13th place in the ProTour 2005 world rankings, as he also secured himself top-10 spots in Paris-Nice, Tour de Suisse, Tour de Méditerranéen and Etoile de Bessèges.
"I'm extremely happy that we're extending our contract," Schleck commented his decision. "Bjarne was the one who initially gave me the opportunity to become a pro, and I have a lot to thank him for. I have continued to develop while being on the team, and I know I can go even further. I'm really happy to find myself here at Team CSC, where I'm also 100 percent comfortable with my team mates."
Meanwhile, following the announcement by T-Mobile that the German outfit had managed to sign CSC rider Linus Gerdemann, Bjarne Riis has also commented on the departure of the 23 year-old. Gerdemann did have a contract for next year with CSC, but Riis chose to release him and terminate the relationship one year early, because the German had agreed to join T-Mobile as of 2007.
The Danish team manager called the transfer "not correct and not serious". He allowed it because he "didn't want to cause a big fuss," Riis told German news agency dpa. Christian Frommert, T-Mobiles Director of Communications, said that the transfer was "absolutely clean" and denied that "we're buying up everything we can."
Gerdemann opened negotiations with T-Mobile manager Olaf Ludwig in August. He also received an offer from Riis, who said, "Linus wanted a lot more. I didn't want to offer it to him, because he hadn't shown enough yet for that. It's not a healthy development." So Gerdemann accepted the T-Mobile offer to sign for them as of the 2007 season.
"Naturally, Gerdemann should have fulfilled his contract for the coming year with me," said Riis. "But I'm not going to work with a rider and invest a lot of time and effort so that he can transfer to a rival team...Linus went for the money. I'm not angry at him about it - it's his right. But T-Mobile should have spoken to me first." Frommert responded, "We did nothing wrong. We had only an oral agreement with Linus for 2007 and not a written contract."
Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer