Steegmans set to jump from RadioShack to Quick Step?
Gert Steegmans, stage winner
Gert Steegmans is with team RadioShack at a training camp in Calpe, Spain, but he is home sick. The Belgian reportedly wants to leave Lance Armstrong's team and race for home team Quick Step.
He had his best years so far racing for the Belgian team. He won two stages of the Tour de France and two at Paris-Nice from 2007 to 2008. Since then, he has won very little, two races last year and zero this year.
Steegmans's problems stemmed from his teams and crashes. He fell out with Katusha's boss, Andrei Tchmil in 2009. Refusing to sign an anti-doping agreement, he effectively annulled his contract.
Belgian Johan Bruyneel and Armstrong signed Steegmans last year to lead the classics wing of their new RadioShack team. He is with his RadioShack team-mates (minus Armstrong) for a training camp now in Calpe, but Belgium's Het Nieuwsblad newspaper reported today that he is ready to quit.
RadioShack confirmed that Steegmans talked to Bruyneel about leaving.
"He still has a contract with TRS [RadioShack] for 2011," said press officer, Philippe Maertens. "When he finds a team and TRS agrees, he will leave."
Steegmans, according to the newspaper, is working on an agreement with Quick Step boss, Patrick Lefevere. Lefevere spent time with Steegmans and his agent Paul Degeyter last weekend at Tom Boonen's charity cyclo-cross race.
Lefevere sold a majority of the team to Czech Zdenek Bakala and Dutchman Bessel Kok last week. The agreement secured the team for at least the next three years and provides the cash to sign Steegmans.
"This agreement," said Lefevere in a press release, "will allow the team, as well as the people who work for the team, to have a guaranteed future even after 2011."
RadioShack will likely pull its sponsorship at the end of next season when their contract ends and Armstrong is retired.
Gert Steegmans: Teams
2007-2008: Quick Step