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Demol was ready to succeed Bruyneel

Dirk Demol

Dirk Demol (Image credit: Brecht Decaluwé)

Assistant directeur sportif for the Discovery Channel team, Dirk Demol was poised to take over the role of Johan Bruyneel, according to Het Nieuwsblad, until the dissolution of the team put an end to the squad's future. The Belgian indicated that Bruyneel was ready to step into more of a management role, leaving Demol, a former winner of Paris-Roubaix, to direct the day-to-day racing operations of the team.

"During the Tour, Johan Bruyneel told me that he had another role set aside for himself in 2008," explained Demol, "Similar to that of Patrick Lefevere at Quick-Step. I would move up a rank in the line of directeurs. I also felt ready to take that step," he said. Demol did not elaborate on why the tactical genius who directed the team to eight Tour victories in nine years would give up that role, but only said that Bruyneel was happy with the results the team had achieved during the Tour. "I believe that Johan was satisfied after all the success. Especially since we didn't have a sponsor," Demol said.

Despite taking first and third overall in the Tour and two stage wins, the team decided to give up its search for sponsorship and Bruyneel, in an even more surprising move, announced he would retire from the sport. While Bruyneel said that the timing was "an ideal moment to go out on top," there was an undercurrent of dissatisfaction in the official press release, where Bruyneel stated that he would "miss the staff, riders and the excitement of the races, but not all the in fighting between the teams."

Demol still took a bright view of the future of the sport, saying that despite it being in a "dark tunnel" at the moment, it still had a solid future. "Give it a year or two," he concluded.

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