Omega Pharma in discussions with three teams, wants to finalise 2012 deal this week
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Omega Pharma in discussions with three teams, wants to finalise 2012 deal this week

by Conal Andrews at 6:01 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Plans continue to evolve for next season

Jurgen van den BroeckSeeking an agreement in advance of the Tour de France, where the timing would be optimum to announce plans for next year, the Omega Pharma sponsor is currently speaking to a number of teams about coming on board as a co-sponsor.

The pharmaceutical company is currently involved with the Omega Pharma-Lotto team but relations are strained and it was confirmed several weeks ago that a split was on the cards. Rather than forming its own squad, which was originally suggested, Omega Pharma now wants to join forces with an existing formation. If so, the headache of staring up a new team would be avoided and the extra cash could provide for a very strong set-up.

There are conflicting details at present, but these should be clarified in time. According to the Belga agency, Omega Pharma spoke to Ag2r La Mondiale, Saxo Bank SunGard and Leopard Trek, without success. It however states that talks are advanced with the Quick Step team of Patrick Lefevere, and that small details remain to be ironed out.

However financial manager Geert Coeman plays down these suggestions, saying that talk of a impending merger with Quick Step is as yet premature.

“The group around Patrick Lefevere is one of the three candidates to join our futures,” he told Sporza. “We are also talking with Leopard Trek and Vacansoleil DCM.

“We hope to find a solution. At the end of this week the case should be completed, without speculation, and we can be with a cool head at the start of the Tour.”

Leopard Trek has backing from big businessmen but not a title sponsor. A cash injection from Omega Pharma could be welcome, while the pharmaceutical company would have the benefit of being aligned with some of the biggest riders in the sport.

Vacansoleil DCM is in its first year at the UCI WorldTour level and will be keen to expand and grow in strength.

Meanwhile current Omega Pharma Lotto Classics star Philippe Gilbert is in talks with several teams. He wants to find a three year deal with a team which suits his qualities.

Gilbert, GC contender Jurgen Van Den Broeck (pictured) and sprinter Andre Griepel will head the team in the Tour. Gilbert, who won the Belgian road race championship at the weekend, has set himself the goal of winning a stage in the first week and taking the yellow jersey.

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