As the transfer season continues, coming to a close in a few weeks' time, 14 Belgian professional cyclists are still without a contract for next season. Although this number is relatively low compared to the same time in 2004, when more than 30 riders didn't know if they were going to continue racing, the vacant slots, especially in Belgian teams, are also scarce.
Quick.Step-Innergetic has one free spot on its roster, Landbouwkrediet-Colnago wants to sign three more riders and Unibet.com (former MrBookmaker.com) still has five vacancies. According to Het Nieuwsblad, The following pros are still looking for a team in 2006: Arne Daelmans (Chocolade Jacques-T-Interim), Thierry De Groote (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago), Kristof Trouvé, Francesco Planckaert and Wesley Van Speybroeck (MrBookmaker-SportsTech), Kevin Ista, Guillaume Lernould and Xavier Hérinne (RAGT-Sémences), Kevin Van Der Slagmolen (Bodysol-Win for Life-Jong Vlaanderen), Igor Abakoumov and Michael Blanchy (Jartazi-Revor), Andy De Smet, Jehudi Schoonacker and Christophe Stevens (Team Skil-Moser).
The composition of Belgian Professional teams is currently the following:
Staying: Bettini (Ita), Boonen (Bel), Bramati (Ita), Cretskens (Bel), De Weert (Bel), Engels (Ned), Garrido (Spa), Hulsmans (Bel), Knaven (Ned), Nuyens (Bel), Pozzato (Ita), Rosseler (Bel), Tankink (Ned), Trenti (USA), Weylandt (Bel).
Newcomers: Baguet (Bel, Davitamon-Lotto), Chicchi (Ita, Fassa Bortolo), De Jongh (Ned, Rabobank), Rujano (Ven, Selle Italia), Santaromita (Ita, Velo Club Mendrisio), Scarselli (Ita, Selle Italia), Schwab (Swi, Saeco-Romer's),Garate (Spa, Saunier Duval), Tosatto (Ita, Fassa Bortolo), Van de Walle (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago), Van Impe (Chocolade Jacques-T-Interim), Vasseur (Cofidis), Verheyen (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago), Viganò (Ita), Wielinga (Ned, Rabobank).
Leaving: Christensen (Den, Barloworld), De Fauw (Chocolade Jacques-T-Interim), Mercado (Spa, Agritubel), Moreni (Ita, Cofidis), Paolini (Ita, Liquigas-Bianchi), Pecharroman (Spa, Comunidad Valenciana), Rogers (Aus, T-Mobile), Sinkewitz (Ger, T-Mobile), Van Goolen (Bel, Discovery Channel), Verbrugghe (Bel, Cofidis), Zanini (Ita, Liquigas-Bianchi).
Staying: Aerts (Bel), Ardila (Col), Brandt (Bel), De Vocht (Bel), Dockx (Bel), Evans (Aus), Gates (Aus), Kuyckx (Bel), Leukemans (Bel), Mattan (Bel), McEwen (Aus), Rodriguez (USA), Roesems (Bel), Steegmans (Bel), Steels (Bel), Van Bon (Ned), Van Hecke (Bel), Vanhuffel (Bel), Van Petegem (Bel), Vansevenant (Bel), Vansummeren (Bel), Vogels (Aus).
Newcomers: Ingels (Bel, neo-pro), Kaisen (Bel, RAGT-Sémences), Mertens (Bel, Chocolade Jacques-T-Interim), Horner (USA, Saunier Duval), Sanderson (Aus, neo-pro)
Leaving: Amorison (Bel, Landbouwkrediet-Colnago), Baguet (Bel, Quick Step-Innergetic), Merckx (Bel, Phonak), Moerenhout (Ned, Phonak), Vierhouten (Ned, ?)
Directeur sportif Marc Sergeant said that McEwen will be the team's top sprinter again in 2006, with Van Petegem, Van Bon and Mattan being the squad's leading all-rounders, and Ardila and Van Huffel for the mountains. "I'm counting an the further development of guys like Steegmans, Vansummeren, Van Hecke and Mertens," Sergeant said, while regretting the departure of Baguet and Merckx. "But as a whole our team isn't weaker than last year. There's also the signing of Horner, who's eager for results and very experienced."
Staying: Boucher (Fra), Bouquet (Fra), Castresana (Spa), Coenen (Bel), Gabriel (Fra), Gardeyn (Bel), Hunt (GBr), Omloop (Bel), Pronk (Ned), Thijs (Bel), Traksel (Ned), Van De Wouwer (Bel), Van Dijk (Ned, but suspended for a year), Vandenbroucke (Bel)
Newcomers: Dominguez (Spa, Saunier Duval), Cooke (Aus, Française des Jeux), Ljungblad (Swe, Amore è Vita), Ten Dam (Ned, Shimano-Memory Corp), Wilson (Aus, Française des Jeux), Zanotti (Ita, Liquigas-Bianchi)
Leaving: Commeyne (Bel, Palmans-Sapim-Collstrop), Day (Aus, ?), Laidoun (Fra, ?), Paumier (Fra, ?), Planckaert (Bel, ?), Renders (Bel, Chocolade Jacques-T-Interim), Roodhooft (Bel, Palmans-Sapim-Collstrop), Trouvé (Bel, ?), Vannoppen (Bel, Palmans-Sapim-Collstrop), Wuyts (Bel, Palmans-Sapim-Collstrop)
Staying: Barbé (Bel), Belaey (Bel), Caethoven (Bel), De Schrooder (Bel), Eeckhout( Bel), Ghyllebert (Bel), Gilmore (Bel), Hovelynck (Bel), Huysmans (Bel), Keisse (Bel), Lisabeth (Bel), Stubbe (Bel), Van Der Linden (Bel), Van Mechelen (Bel), Veuchelen (Bel), Wijnants (Bel), Willems (Bel)
Newcomers: De Fauw (Bel, Quick Step-Innergetic), D'Hollander (Bel, Landbouwkrediet-Colnago), Pauwels (Bel, neo-pro), Jens Renders (Bel, MrBookmaker-SportsTech), Van Heule (Bel, neo-pro), Verbist (Bel, neo-pro)
Leaving: Daelmans (Bel, ?), Kleynen (Bel, Landbouwkrediet-Colnago), Mertens (Bel, Davitamon-Lotto), Peeters (Bel, retired), Van Impe (Bel, Quick Step-Innergetic), Van Speybroeck (Bel, ?)
Staying: Capelle (Bel, depending on ongoing doping case), Criquielion (Bel), De Waele (Bel), Habeaux (Bel), Sven Renders (Bel), Sijmens (Bel), Simon (Bel), Van Loocke (Bel), Vanlandschoot (Bel), Verstrepen (Bel)
Newcomers: Amorison (Bel, Davitamon-Lotto), Cappelle (Bel, suspension ended), Kleynen (Bel, Chocolade Jacques-T-Interim), Lebeau (Bel, neo-pro)
Leaving: Bracke (Bel, ?), Cummings (GBr, ?), De Groote (Bel, ?), D'Hollander (Bel, Chocolade Jacques-T-Interim), Dierckxsens (Bel, retired), Lagutin (UZB, Navigators), Monfort (Bel, Cofidis), Van de Walle (Bel, Quick Step-Innergetic), Verheyen (Bel, Quick Step-Innergetic)