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Bike manufacturer Cervelo has announced it will run its own professional team from 2009, ending its seven year relationship with Bjarne Riis?s CSC squad

Cervelo TestTeam will register with the UCI as a Continental Professional team so will have to depend on the riders it signs to gain invites for the big races. It will be run by Swiss management company Cycling United Racing alongside the women?s Cervelo team.

The news came as rumours that Specialized was to become the new bike sponsor of CSC gathered pace. Cervelo?s co-founder Gerard Vroomen has enjoyed a close relationship with the Danish team over the years, but it?s likely Specialized were able to offer more money.

Specialized paid somewhere in the region of ?4m to become a sponsor of the Belgian Quick Step team, and it?s likely to have paid at least that to lure CSC?s Tour winning team away from Cervelo.

Zipp and Speedplay, two sub sponsors, will stay with Cervelo as it branches out on it?s own.

The rider line-up is yet to be confirmed, and although nothing is expected to be announced before the September first deadline, Carlos Sastre has been linked with the team as has Briton Roger Hammond.

A press release said:

Cervélo, Zipp, Speedplay, Vittoria and 3T are pleased to announce Cervélo TestTeam. Beyond racing, this new professional cycling team will provide a comprehensive, engineering-driven test ground for new product development.

?We are proud to have played an important part in taking Team CSC from fourteenth to first in the team world ranking and in Carlos Sastre?s Tour de France victory,? said Gerard Vroomen, co-founder of Cervélo. ?It was the dedication to excellence by both the equipment sponsors and the team that made it happen. Most of all we appreciate the confidence Bjarne Riis had in us back in 2002 and thank him for these past six years. The financial realities of pro cycling today have caused a change in priorities for the team, and we respect that.

Our main reason to work with a team is to develop new products, and how better to accomplish that than by owning the team.?

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