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Comings and goings

Rik Verbrugghe, 34, ends a 13-year run

Rik Verbrugghe, 34, ends a 13-year run (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Alex Rasmussen will ride for Team Saxo Bank next season, as part of what team owner Bjarne Riis called, "a generation switch." The 24 year-old Dane won the national road title in 2007, but is better known for his accomplishments on the track. This year he won a silver medal in the team pursuit in the Beijing Olympics, he was 2005 World Champion in the scratch and this season won the World Cup title in Madison.

"Of course this switch will be extremely tough, but I'll do whatever's in my power to win during my first year with the team," Rasmussen said. Riis called him "a huge talent, who has great potential for a fantastic career as a pro." He added, "we're in the middle of a generation switch and Alex is certainly an important piece of the puzzle."

Geert Verheyen and Denis Flahaut will join the Professional Continental Team Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner. Verheyen, 35, started riding in 1994 with Vlaanderen 2002-Eddy Merckx and rode with Mitsubishi-Jartazi, his eighth team to date. He was Belgian national champion in 2004. Flahaut, 29, is a third-year professional, who this year rode for Saunier Duval/Scott-American Beef. He won a stage of the Vuelta a Andalucía this season.

Rik Verbrugghe of Cofidis will ride his final race today, the Grand Prix de Wallonie. The 34-year old broke his collarbone during a crash at the Clasica San Sebastián earlier this summer, which he called "a mentally heavy blow." He hopes to stay involved in cycling.

The Belgian turned professional in 1996 with Lotto, and rode for Quick Step for a year in 2005 before joining Cofidis. His most successful year was in 2001, as he won the Flèche Wallonne and Criterium International, as well as the prologue of the Giro d'Italia and a stage in the Tour de France. He has also won two stages in the Giro d'Italia. (SW)

(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer)

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