Andrei Tchmil could well announce the end of his career on Sunday at a press conference after the final stage of the Tour of Belgium in Marche-en-Famenne. Tchmil originally wished to retire after the championships of the world in Zolder at the end of the season. However his team, Lotto-Adecco, have not extended his contract which expired on the 1st of May. Following his crash in the three days of de Panne Tchmil’s season plans were thrown into disary and Patrick Sercu has decided not to extend his contract at the previous terms.
Yesterday Tchmil said, "I do not want to ride any more for just a third of the amount that I currently receive. I do not want to talk with another team, which means that my career could finish on Sunday in Marche-en-Famenne.”
However today Andrei Tchmil (Lotto)won the third and penultimate stage of the Tour of Belgium in front of the Russian Alexandre Vinokourov (Telekom).
Seconds after crossing the finishing line, Tchmil, 39 years old, announced that its victory was the last one of his career and confirmed that he will retire tomorrow.
The Dutch rider Bart Voskamp (Bankgiroloterij) retains the lead in the general classification.
Tchmil, whose contract with the Belgian Lotto team will finish at the end of this month, does not discard the possibility of disputing the next Championship of the World in Zolder, although he has still not reached an agreement with the leaders of the team.
"I do not think i will participate in that race if I am not made a better offer," said Tchmil, who won Milan-Sanremo (1999), the Tour de Flandes (2000) and Paris-Roubaix (1994).
The sport director of the team, Jef Braeckevelt, who considers Tchmil like a one of his children, was visibly upset by the announcement. "It is difficult to see that his career is is finished. I would like Andrei to continue for a few more months."
Tchmil had been offered a reduced wage of around 40% as a new contract - and while the Belgian national lottery, were keen to increase this offer it would appear that the other sponsers were not happy to do this.
Rob Hayles, Roger Hammond and Bobby Julich finished in the main bunch, Kevin Livingston was @ 17 seconds, Charles Wegelius and Jeff Louder came in together 3.59 minutes down.
Mechelen - Bilzen, 220.9 km
1 Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 5.09.43
2 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Telekom 0.01
3 Bj Leukemans (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 0.05
4 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Domo-Farm Frites
5 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
6 Andrej Hauptman (Slo) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi
7 Dirk Reichl (Ger) Team Telekom
8 Damien Nazon (Fra) Bonjour
9 Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre-Daikin
10 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Lampre-Daikin
11 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim
12 Robert Hayles (GBr) Cofidis
13 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
14 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Ag2r-Prevoyance
15 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis
1 Bart Voskamp (Ned) Bankgiroloterij-Batavus 13.43.37
2 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Lampre-Daikin 0.11
3 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Bonjour 0.13
4 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 0.17
5 Bert Roesems (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 0.19
6 David Casa Gracia (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step 0.25
7 Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 0.28
8 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Domo-Farm Frites 0.30
9 Arturas Kasputis (Ltu) Ag2r-Prevoyance 0.31
10 Nico Mattan (Bel) Cofidis 0.32
Tour of Belgium photos now online in the Daily Peloton Photo Gallery - Tchmil, Louder Voskamp and more!