Steegmans confirmed as returning to Team Quick Step
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Steegmans confirmed as returning to Team Quick Step

by Shane Stokes at 3:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Rider leaving Team RadioShack one year early

Gert SteegmansBelgian sprinter and Classics rider Gert Steegmans has now completed the paperwork necessary and will move back to the Quick Step team, two years after leaving the squad.

The 30 year old still had a year to go in his contract with Team RadioShack but as Het Nieuwsblad confirms, negotiations with the American team have led to the rider being released. It is not certain what he had to pay, but the team insisted before that there would be a transfer fee.

Team Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere insisted he wouldn’t hand over any money, and so it is possible that Steegmans himself paid any amount necessary. The deal is for one year.

As reported last week, the rider has been training with the Quick Step team at its December training camp in Calpe, Spain. It runs until tomorrow.

He competed with the team in 2007 and 2008, winning a Tour de France stage each season, and taking many other strong results. Courted by Team Katusha, he moved to the Russian squad in 2009 but then 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.

He left the team as a result and moved to Team RadioShack, but his hopes of a strong season were hampered by a bad crash he suffered in the prologue of Paris-Nice. He wasn’t selected for the Tour de France, but things ended well when he had a strong run of form in October. His results then included two top-four stage placings in the Circuit Franco-Belge, fourth in Binche-Tournai-Binch/Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke, and third in Paris-Tours.

His characteristics mean that a fully-fit Steegmans can slot into a similar sprint role as is currently filled by Tom Boonen or, indeed, help Boonen to try to beat big rivals such as Mark Cavendish. He is also likely to be a factor in big one day races.


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