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Landbouwkrediet-Colnago continues youth focus

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The Landbouwkrediet team

The Landbouwkrediet team (Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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The Landbouwkrediet team for 2005.

The Landbouwkrediet team for 2005. (Image credit: Luc Claessen/Cyclingnews.com)
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Team manager Claude Criquelion, a very handy rider himself in his day.

Team manager Claude Criquelion, a very handy rider himself in his day. (Image credit: Luc Claessen/Cyclingnews.com)
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Ludovic Capelle is one of the team's most experience riders.

Ludovic Capelle is one of the team's most experience riders. (Image credit: Luc Claessen/Cyclingnews.com)
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Belgian neo-pro Mathieu Criquelion

Belgian neo-pro Mathieu Criquelion (Image credit: Luc Claessen/Cyclingnews.com)
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British neo-pro Steve Cummings

British neo-pro Steve Cummings (Image credit: Luc Claessen/Cyclingnews.com)
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Tony Bracke will be looking for an improved season in 2005.

Tony Bracke will be looking for an improved season in 2005. (Image credit: Luc Claessen/Cyclingnews.com)
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Colnago are once again the bike sponsor of the Landbouwkrediet team, the C-50 the team's weapon of choice.

Colnago are once again the bike sponsor of the Landbouwkrediet team, the C-50 the team's weapon of choice. (Image credit: Luc Claessen/Cyclingnews.com)
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The unmistakable three-leaf clover adorns the C-50's headtube.

The unmistakable three-leaf clover adorns the C-50's headtube. (Image credit: Luc Claessen/Cyclingnews.com)
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Colnago were one of the pioneers of quality lugged carbon frames.

Colnago were one of the pioneers of quality lugged carbon frames. (Image credit: Luc Claessen/Cyclingnews.com)
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The Landbouwkrediet team jersey.

The Landbouwkrediet team jersey. (Image credit: Luc Claessen/Cyclingnews.com)

Belgian team Landbouwkrediet-Colnago presented its squad on Friday in Anderlecht, Brussels. For 2005, the Continental Professional team will maintain its focus on developing young riders to become full professionals. "The ProTour was necessary, but I organised things differently," said manager Gérard Bulens, who could not outbid Omega Pharma and Quick.Step for the two Belgian ProTour licences. "A number of smaller sponsors became the basis for our team. Therefore we give the young riders plenty of chances."

Team director Claude Criquielion, whose son Mathieu is joining as a neo-pro, said that "We're the Belgian team with the most young guys. It won't bear fruit this year, but certainly next year." The team's young guns include 2003 U23 world champion Sergey Lagutin, Tour of Luxembourg winner Maxime Monfort, Sven Renders, James Vanlandschoot, Nico Sijmens and neo-pro's Steven Cummings, Mathieu Criquielion, Gregory Habeaux, Jean-Paul Simon, Jurgen Van Loocke.

That being said, there are still plenty of experienced riders such as Ludovic Capelle, Glenn d'Hollander, Johan Verstrepen and Geert Verheyen, with Ludo Dierckxsens still being a possibility to re-sign with the team. "I will never close the door for him," said Bulens.

Landbouwkrediet-Colnago has lost some of its higher profile riders, such as Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery), Tom Steels (Davitamon-Lotto) and Jacky Durand (retirement). "I'm happy that we were able to give Popovych the transfer that he dreamed of," said Bulens. "Durand is a great guy but he understood that there was no place for him in a young team without the Tour. Steels is really disappointing, because he gave us a lot of publicity."

Click here for the full team roster