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Milatz departing Multivan Merida team

Moritz Milatz is wrapping up his final season as a pro for the Multivan Merida Biking Team. After seven years with the top-ranked mountain bike team, the German cross country racer and the team have decided to part ways.

"We wish Moritz all the best in his upcoming career," said team manager Andreas Rottler on the amicable parting. "It was a pleasure to help Milatz develop from a cross-over entrant into the sport of mountain biking to a top performer on an international level. And we're looking forward to seeing him at race venues across the globe in the future as well."

Milatz made the transition to cycling from running, signing with the squad in 2004. It did not take the Freiburg native long to win his first race, a marathon World Cup in 2005.

In 2006, he won his first German cross country national championship and established himself as one of Germany's strongest mountain bike racers. One of Milatz's career highlights to date was a third-place finish at Madrid's World Cup race in 2009.

This season, which got off to a difficult start with a rough early season crash that resulted in a broken nose and facial injuries, Milatz won the German national championship and his national series, the German Bundesliga.

The 28-year-old Moritz was offered a lucrative contract extension from Multivan Merida, but he decided after careful consideration to turn down the offer.

"I owe the Multivan Merida Biking Team a large part of my career, and I always like to remember the past," said Milatz on his website. "Now it is time for me to set new targets in a new environment to take a step forward athletically and personally. I leave the team in gratitude and friendship and look forward to continuing to see everyone involved in the racing scene."

Milatz is considering offers from other teams. Although he has made a preliminary decision, he has declined to announce his new team until the contract is signed.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.