QuickStep's Gert Steegmans confident that he can return to winning ways in 2011
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

QuickStep's Gert Steegmans confident that he can return to winning ways in 2011

by Jered Gruber at 9:44 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Belgian fast man looking to end nearly two year winless streak

Back in 2007 and 2008, Gert Steegmans was one of the best sprinters in the world. Two stage wins, including the Champs Elysees, at the Tour de France, two stages at Paris-Nice, the overall and two stages at the Circuit Franco Belge, a stage of the Three Days of DePanne, a stage of the Volta ao Algarve, the Tour de Rijke, a stage of the Four Days of Dunkirk, and the Memorial Rik Van Steenbergen more than made a solid case for the tall Belgian.

The two seasons following his glorious 2008 were defined by a whole lot of nothing. The rider, who now calls Monaco home, moved to Katusha in 2009, then RadioShack in 2010. Both relationships ended up in poor condition, and in two years, Steegmans only has a win at the Ruta del Sol and a stage of the Challenge Mallorca to his credit - both in 2009. It has been almost two years since Steegmans's last win.

Injuries, controversy, and less than stellar performances have conspired to keep the fast finishing Belgian quiet for two years, but with his return to the team that harbored him during his previous successes, QuickStep, Steegmans hopes to return to the winning ways of old.

At the end of the 2010 season, Steegmans was already showing some hints of a return. A podium finish at Paris-Tours was a solid result, but even that was marred by his moaning over his teammate, Geoffroy Lequatre's, solo effort in search of victory.

"The end of the season reassured me. I felt I was back. I got closer to victory, especially with my third place at Paris-Tours. This gave me confidence, and I told myself that if I could start the 2011 season with the same legs, that I could win again," said the duel stage winner at the Tour de France to La Derniere Heure.

Steegmans admits that his nearly two years of win-free living are wearing thin on his patience, but he feels that the time is nigh when they'll return.

"It's starting to be a long time, but I think that when I win again, it'll be fine, especially since everything has gone so well in recent months. I really had a great winter, and my return to QuickStep has gone smoothly. I feel like I've come home and I'm finding my way again."

the 30 year old rider originally from Hasselt will begin his season at the Tours of Qatar and Oman. He'll immediately return to the role that he left in 2009 - supporting the vaunted stars of QuickStep, namely Tom Boonen. This time around though, Steegmans doesn't seem to mind.

"Tom is the leader, the same with Chavanel. I'm in their wake, like many other racers, but if they have a bad day, then maybe I can take my chance, especially in one of the Flandrian classics, which remain close to my heart."

The former Belgian junior road race, junior time trial, and U23 time trial champion hints at his dreams on the cobbles of Flanders, but refuses to let on to anything more.

"I do not want to talk about that. I keep those secrets for myself."

Certainly, if Steegmans can return to his form of old, he'll be a sprinter and a Classics rider to be reckoned with - no questions. The question, however, is whether that will actually happen or not. It will likely become pretty apparent within the next month if Steegmans is back on the path of success.


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