Steegmans training with Quick Step in Calpe, return likely?
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Steegmans training with Quick Step in Calpe, return likely?

by Shane Stokes at 8:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Belgian’s presence at training camp suggests RadioShack release probable

Gert SteegmansBelgian sprinter and Classics rider Gert Steegmans has not officially re-signed with the Quick Step team, but that transfer appears more likely than ever due to his presence at the team training camp in Calpe. As reported by Belgian media, the 30 year old is with the team of Patrick Lefevere at its warm-weather training base, which runs until Tuesday.

Steegmans competed with the team in 2007 and 2008, winning a Tour de France stage each season. He then moved to Team Katusha in 2009, but fell out with team management when he refused to sign a controversial anti-doping regulation which compelled riders to pay a sum totalling five times their annual salary if they tested positive.

Because of that dispute, Steegmans was not selected for races and eventually left the team. He then signed for Team RadioShack for 2010, was injured when he crashed in Paris-Nice, and then had a quiet season. His form did pick up towards the end of the year, particularly in October when the Belgian clocked up two top-four stage placings in the Circuit Franco-Belge, fourth in Binche-Tournai-Binch/Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke, and third in Paris-Tours.

According to Sportwereld, the rider and his agent Paul Degeyter spent time talking to Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere at the Boonen and Friends charity cyclo-cross race in Mol at the beginning of this month. The team subsequently confirmed an interest in him, but RadioShack said that they would have to be financially compensated if he was to end his contract a year early.

General manager Patrick Lefevere told the Gazet van Antwerpen that he had no intention of doing so. “There is no way I would pay even one Euro ransom to RadioShack for him to return,” he stated.

There has been no confirmation that situation has been resolved, but Steegman’s presence at the camp suggests that things are moving onwards and that he could well be part of the team for 2011. If so, the announcement of his return can be expected very soon.

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