Bernard Kohl signs with Silence-Lotto

Bobby Julich retires and Schumacher to lead Germany at the worlds

Austrian cyclist Bernhard Kohl, third in this year's Tour de France, announced on Monday he has signed a three-year deal with the Silence-Lotto team.

His old team, Gerolsteiner, announced at the end of last month they were dissolving after their German mineral water sponsors decided not to continue sponsorship for 2009.

"The entire team [Silence-Lotto] give priority to the Tour [de France], it was the decisive point," said Kohl, adding that he would like to win the event, "in the next two or three years".

Kohl, 26, will take the place of the team's number two rider. He’ll be behind Australian Cadel Evans, who finished one podium place above Kohl in this year’s Tour.

 "I had to choose between being the captain or having a strong team," said the Austrian, who went on to say that working for 32-year-old Evans: "Is important for my personal training. I can learn a lot from him".

Bobby Julich

In related news, American veteran Bobby Julich, a former podium finisher at the Tour de France, has announced the end to his 15-year professional career.

Julich relaunched his career with the CSC team in 2004, and could now join the team on a coaching/managerial basis.

"I have had a long career as a professional cyclist and it's been an honour to be part of a team like Team CSC for the last five years," said Julich.

"Being on such a great team for so long, I know what it takes to be at the top level of this sport and realize that mentally I am not able to make the sacrifices that it takes to be there anymore," he added.

"I hope to stay connected to the world of cycling because it has been my life and passion for 25 years, but I am also keeping my options open. To continue to work for Bjarne and the team in some way would be great and I would love it if that opportunity presented itself."

Team owner Riis will soon be without a manager, with Scott Sunderland announcing his departure for the Cervelo Team.

Riis said he would be happy to bring Julich on board: "I have the utmost respect for Bobby as a rider and as a person, and I would be honoured if he would consider being part of the team in another role in the future.”

Schumacher to lead Germany in worlds

Looking to the future, Tour of Germany winner Linus Gerdemann and Tour de France stage winner Stefan Schumacher will lead the German team at the road cycling world championships in Varese, Italy later this month.

Gerdemann and Schumacher will form part of a nine-rider road race team announced by the German cycling federation (BDR).

The team also includes sprinters Gerald Ciolek, the world junior champion in 2006, and 37-year-old Erik Zabel, runner-up at the world championships in 2004 and 2006.

Two-time Tour de France runner-up Andreas Kloden will not compete after being overlooked for the Beijing Olympics squad.

© BikeRadar & AFP 2008 

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