Ridley quits Silence-Lotto

Belgium bike maker sponsoring Russian team Katusha in 2009

Ridley Dean, ridden by Cadel Evans during the 2008 Tour de France.

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The riders of Silence-Lotto won’t race on Ridley bikes in 2009. The Belgian bike manufacturer announced it will end its sponsorship of the Belgian ProTour team and will sponsor the Russian team Katusha, successor of Team Tinkoff.

“We aim on a more international level, and we think to accomplish that by sponsoring a multinational team like Katusha,” says Ridley manager Anthony Kumpen. Ridley developed the Dean, a new time trial bike for Silence-Lotto leader and Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans, but according to Kumpen, that didn’t work out completely the way they wanted. In 2009 Gert Steegmans and his Katusha teammates will race on the Ridely Noah, Helium and Dean. Silence-Lotto rider Robbie McEwen has been rumoured to join Steegmans at Katusha, as has Liquigas star Filippo Pozzato.

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Which manufacturer will replace Ridley at Silence-Lotto is not decided yet. There are two bike brands in the running: French Look and Belgian Museeuw Bikes, according to sources familiar with the situation.