World champion Cadel Evans will leave Silence-Lotto at the end of the year.
The Australian, who has spent five years with the Belgian team, has triggered a clause in his contract which allows him to get out of Silence-Lotto at the end of the year. He will ride for a different team in 2010.
A statement released by Silence-Lotto said: “Silence-Lotto is proud of the progress Cadel made in our team – from a rough time to the absolute top in five years, thanks to the professional entourage and good teamwork. We wish him all the best for his further career, and success in your beautiful rainbow jersey.”
The 32-year-old has twice finished on the podium at the Tour de France, but had a poor Tour this year. A strong Vuelta a Espana was ruined by a puncture and slow bike change on a crucial mountain stage, denying him a chance of overall victory.
But he ended the season in style, winning the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, with a superb late attack.
Speculation will now be rife about who Evans will ride for in 2010.