Specialized splits with Quick Step

Astana sponsorship in the works?

Specialized bikes and ProTour team Quick Step will part ways for the 2010 season.

The US company will supply the bikes for two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador next season and is expected to also sponsor his team, Astana.

Quick Step have ridden on Specialized since the start of 2007, scoring some big wins in the process. Tom Boonen won Paris-Roubaix twice as well as two stages and the green sprinters' jersey at the 2007 Tour de France. Also in 2007, Italian Paolo Bettini won the World Road Championships.

"Specialized has been a big part of those results by developing bikes and equipment that give the riders a real edge," said Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefévère in a statement. "I want to thank Mike [Sinyard] and the specialized team for their support."

Specialized President Sinyard thanked the team for raising awareness of his company's brand and helping to develop his bikes. "We are grateful to the team and the riders for these contributions," said Sinyard.

Specialized will continue to sponsor the Saxo Bank ProTour team, but it will no longer sponsor Pro Continental team ISD.

According to Belgian media, Quick.Step is expected to announce a new sponsorship deal with Eddy Merckx bicycles soon.

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