Patrick Lefevere: “I’d take Steegmans back but won’t pay a Euro for him”
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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Patrick Lefevere: “I’d take Steegmans back but won’t pay a Euro for him”

by Ben Atkins at 8:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Quick Step manager would like to re-sign former rider but doesn’t intend to pay RadioShack a “ransom”

gert steegmansQuick Step manager Patrick Lefevere has confirmed that he would be interested in re-signing former rider Gert Steegmans if he leaves his contract with RadioShack, but insists that he has no money to pay a “ransom” to the American team. The 30-year-old rider from Hasselt, Belgium rode with Quick Step for two years before departing for Team Katusha in 2009, but has not enjoyed his time either there or with RadioShack.

Lefevere was reacting to comments made by RadioShack spokesman Philippe Maertens to Sporza yesterday, when he implied that the Belgian rider would be free to leave, but his destintion team might have to pay a transfer fee as he is contracted through 2011.

“Gert may indeed leave,” Maertens said, “Why? Because if he is not happy with us then we don’t really want him. Gert has not joined us at the training camp [in Spain].

“But the Quick Step deal is premature,” he immeditely added, “Gert is allowed to talk to different teams, but that team and RadioShack will have to make a deal because he has a conract with us.”

gert steegmansSteegmans’s two seasons at Quick Step were the most successful of his career to date; he won two stages of the Tour de France, including the prestigious final stage on the Champs-Elysees in 2008, and a number of other races including stages of Paris-Nice and the overall classification of the Circuit Franco-Belge. All this was achieved while he was performing duties as a lead out man for the team’s big star Tom Boonen.

He made a big money move to the new Katusha team in 2009, but things did not work out after he was the only rider to refuse to sign the team’s anti-doping pledge, which promised to pay five times his annual salary if he failed a test. He moved on to the RadioShack team but his results were no better and he was left out of the Tour de France, which passed through Belgium and crossed the cobbles of northern France.

“I would not say no,” Lefevere told the Gazet van Antwerpen on the subject of Steegmans’ rejoining Quick Step. “I have good memories of Gert’s time with us.

“If I’m right, Steegmans had some pretty good victories while he was with us,” he continued, “He then opted for the big money, but I can’t blame him for that. In any event, he hasn’t won in the two years since he left us.

“I am a candidate,” Lefevere confirmed, “but I have nothing left in my budget to pay even one Euro to pay a ransom for him to RadioShack.”

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