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Updated: Team H20-TelTeck Will Continue, Says Press Release

Gav_medium The riders who signed with H20-Telteck received an unwelcome surprise over the last week. A short email from the team management informed them that the team does not have the budget to honor its contracts. As a result, there will be no team next season. The UCI twice rejected the H20-Telteck's license application. As it turns out, the reason was insufficient funds. The team had not provided the required bank draft to the UCI. The news leaves 18 riders without contracts, when few, if any, teams have budget left to sign them.

According to, the team management never had the necessary funds. Instead, they signed riders, hoping to attract sponsorship support. Rubens Bertaglioli, Patrice Halgand, Wim van Huffel, and Jan Kuyckx are among the riders left without contracts in the debâcle.

Belgian rider, Wim van Huffel recounted, "I received an email just after Christmas in which it was said laconically that the team would not be born." He learned that that contract he signed with the team had "no value." To find a new team in January is "nearly impossible," he said, and he may have no choice but to retire.

Jan Kuyckx, who placed second at Paris-Tours in 2008, was hired on by H20-Telteck to ride as a team leader. That's all over now. Fortunately, Kuyckx may be able to return to his former team Landbouwkrediet. "Our budget is already used up," explained Landbouwkrediet manager Gerard Bullens. "But we will see what we can do for Jan," he concluded.

Update: The team management has issued a press release denying the story. They claim that the team will continue next season and that a UCI license is forthcoming. "We desire to deny categorically anything resembling abandoning our project, and have never slowed the planning process for the imminent 2009 season," declares the press release. For now the team is registered in France as a UCI Continental team. The press release explains that they received a fax from the UCI on 23 December rejecting their application for a Pro Continental license. Because the UCI office closed for the holidays, the team could not reach the UCI for an explanation. The management has nonetheless continued preparing for the season.

The press release then reads a lengthy lecture to the press, including the team's contact information. At this point, this aspect of the ritual has become rather amusing. Step 1: Story emerges in press about team. Step 2: Team realizes press is reporting story about team. Step 2 usually follows at least 12 hours after step 1. Do these people have internet connections? Step 3: Team realizes story is false. Step 4: Team gets around to releasing press statement denying story, after it has travelled the entirety of the internet. In this case, the story was up in the European press early today, European time. How long does it take to type out, "this story is not true. The End." Perhaps they need to hire faster typists? Step 5: Team gets angry at press for writing story that isn't true. Drums feet on floor violently.

This story is a variation on the usual Belgian press gets carried away pattern (the story originated in the Belgian press, as usual.) Unlike some of these internet reports, this one actually had on the record comments. I'm not quite sure, for example, what to make of Wim van Huffel's belief that he does not have a team for next year. The press statement from H20-Telteck says the team will continue, but van Huffel seems to think he has no job. Very curious.