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Axel Merckx renews with Phonak

The Phonak cycling team has announced that Axel Merckx has renewed his contract with the Swiss-bases outfit for another year. "Merckx will ride for our team next year as well," said the team's general manager John Lelangue. "I'm convinced that his experience and his personality will help to develop our team further."

Merckx will therefore end his career with Phonak. "After 2007, that's it," he said. "Then it'll be time to set priorities and focus on my family and life after professional cycling."

Nevertheless, Merckx feels his 15th and final year as a pro won't be a sinecure. "I still feel capable of setting the course athletically, and doing the hard work is a lot of fun on this team," he said.

Lelangue said that Phonak plans to renew the contracts of all its riders who are currently taking part in the Tour de France while the Tour is on.

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