Tosatto burnt by Quick Step boss Lefevere
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tosatto burnt by Quick Step boss Lefevere

by Samuel Morrison at 6:32 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
'It could have ended on a better note'

After a Tour de France stage win and five years of service, Matteo Tosatto hoped to end his career with Belgium's Quick Step team. Instead, the Italian had to look elsewhere and signed with Saxo Bank for next season.

Tosatto said that the decision required since Quick Step's team manager, Belgian Patrick Lefevere initially ignored him.

"I tried with Lefevere for six months. At the Vuelta [a España] I received an offer via a SMS [from him]. We agreed that I would also talk with other teams. However, Patrick no longer answered his telephone," 36-year-old Tosatto told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"He sent an e-mail and wrote that the time had expired. It could have ended on a better note. I would have closed out my career at Quick Step."

Tosatto started racing professionally in 1997 and has spent most of his career in the service of team captains. However, he has won seven times, including a stage at the 2001 Giro d'Italia and at the Tour de France with Quick Step in 2006.

At Quick Step and with the Italian national team at the World Championships, he has gladly accepted the role as a father figure and as a super domestique.

"I gave advice to Dario Cataldo, Davide Malacarne and Branislau Samoilau," said Tosatto. "At the Worlds, Daniel Oss and Francesco Gavazzi looked for me in the race. It is great to see that the young riders are listening to you.

"I raced with all the strongest captains. I had to sweat to wear the Italian national jersey. Even [Italian coach, Paolo] Bettini did not just give it as a gift. Franco Ballerini was the first to believe in me, at the 2002 Worlds in Zolder. I kept the request letter that he mailed me, I read it again this year before the Worlds."

Team Saxo Bank's boss, Bjarne Riis took note of Tosatto's work for team Italy at the World Championships in Geelong, Australia. Two weeks later, at the Giro di Lombardia, the two agreed to work together next year.

Tosatto and the rest of the team will meet this Sunday in on the Spanish Canary Island of Fuerteventura. Alberto Contador may join the team, though he faces a doping investigation in Spain. On his way to winning the Tour de France he tested positive for Clenbuterol.

"I hope the ordeal finishes soon and in the best way," added Tosatto. "I wish this also for Bjarne. He has built a team around Contador."


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