H2O losing riders

The new Luxembourg-based team H2O stands to lose several of its top riders this week. The team was not granted the Professional Continental license that it sought, and has said it would continue as a Continental squad. The team allowed riders who did not agree with the change to seek other contracts. Several of the more experienced riders who came over to the fledgling team from ProTour squads have decided to leave.

Patrice Halgand, formerly of Crédit Agricole, told velo101.com that he would rather retire than race at that level, which excludes riders from Grand Tours and most major races. "Yes, H2O is finished for me.. I may possibly look at proposals from another team," Halgand said, "But now that it is January, I'm not under any illusions."

Former Silence-Lotto rider Win Vanhuffel was equally gloomy. He told Sportwereld, "I'm beginning to realize I may spend a year between contracts. When I see how easily the dopers, sometimes 35 years old, find another team following their suspensions, there should one day be an opening for me somewhere."

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