Sunday, 20 April 2014

Financier Bakala buys Quick Step cycling team

29 November 2010

Prague, Nov 27 (CTK) - Zdenek Bakala, one of the richest Czech financiers, has bought a majority stake in the Belgian professional cycling team Quick Step, along with Bessel Kok, former chief of a Czech telephone operator company.

Bakala and Kok are now the new owners of 80 percent of the team as of this week. The rest of Quick Step is owned by the team's manager Patrick Lefevere.

Kok told Czech daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) he believes cycling has an enormous commercial potential.

The future of Quick Step seemed uncertain and it was negotiating with Bakala and Kok for some time. Kok told the paper that they guaranteed to finance the team till the end of 2013.

He said the team would like to succeed in Tour de France in 2013.

The new cyclocross star of the team is to be Czech Zdenek Stybar whose contract with Belgian Fidea will end in February 2011.

Kok told HN that the talks with Stybar would probably be completed by the end of this week.

Legendary former cycle champion Eddy Merckx, who won Tour de France five times, would soon become one of the team's managers.

According to Forbes journal, Bakala's property is worth 1.2 billion U.S. dollars.

Bakala, currently a shareholder of RPG Industries that owns coal mines and a majority owner of the Ekonomia publishing house. Bakala sponsored all three parties that now form a centre-right coalition government ahead of the spring elections. He has recently bought a house in Prague centre for the seat of Vaclav Havel Library.

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