Boonen wants Quick Step to sign more big names
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Boonen wants Quick Step to sign more big names

by Conal Andrews at 4:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics
 
Needs others to contend in Classics

Tom BoonenBelgian national champion Tom Boonen has called on his Quick Step team to strengthen its ranks next season, making it clear that he thinks that it needs to sign new riders in order to ensure that there is a better strength in depth.

He has been the most successful rider thus far in 2010, in terms of victories. He has landed four wins in all, two stages in the Tour of Qatar, one in the Tour of Oman and one in Tirreno-Adriatico, as well as runner-up slots in Milan-Sanremo and the Tour of Flanders.

The only other riders to top the podium are Jerome Pineau and Wouter Weylandt, who both took stages in the Giro d’Italia, as well as Volta a Catalunya stage winner Davide Malacarne.

Other riders such as Stijn Devolder failed to impress, and this has increased the pressure on riders such as Boonen to deliver.

“It is time for new wind in the team,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “Change is not the right word, more reinforcement. The base is good. But if Stijn Devolder and Sylvain Chavanel fail, there remains few others about…only lieutenants.

What Boonen wants is for another team leader to come on board. His description of who he sees as a good fit would seem to sync perfectly with Philippe Gilbert, but the Walloon recently extended his contract with Omega Pharma Lotto and is not available.

“We need someone who you can be sure will be there in every Classic finale,” he explained. “Stijn [Devolder] is a good guy, but you cannot count on him the entire spring.

“I will be glad if a strengthening comes next year and also if we can get a good captain. Someone in the genre of Steven de Jongh…someone who can help as well in the sprint.”

Boonen ruled out any change himself to another team, saying that he has a contract and has no intention of going elsewhere. He said that general manager Patrick Lefevere would play a waiting game, with the fact that there are five teams with no sponsor for 2011 making things easier.

If teams are fighting to get new sponsors, it will make it easier to pick up their riders, who may prefer to leave rather than wait in hope.

Boonen appears to be back to top form after his well-publicised problems with alcohol and cocaine. He is sprinting strongly again and with Mark Cavendish being some way off his best, has once again the chance to take stage wins and chase the green jersey in the Tour de France.

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