Australian's departure attributed to sponsorship shortfall
Allan Davis has parted ways with Quick Step after one and a half seasons with the Belgian ProTour team. Dutch website wielernieuws.nl reported that Quick Step had not been able to offer the 29-year-old a new contract following the withdrawal of bicycle manufacturer Specialized as a team sponsor.
Confirmation of Davis' departure from Quick Step came a day after the team's manager, Patrick Lefevere, had indicated his continued interest in signing Spaniard Alberto Contador for the 2011 season.
"I held four spots open, one for Contador himself and for three of his close teammates. I won't fill them until the opportunity presents itself," Lefevere told Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen on Thursday.
Last month, it was confirmed that American company Specialized had withdrawn its sponsorship of the team. The bicycle manufacturer has been replaced by Eddy Merckx bicycles as the team's equipment sponsor, however, Specialized's departure is also likely to have shrunk the team's operating budget for future seasons.
Unfortunately for Davis, the lack of funds and a squeeze for places on the Belgian squad coincided with a season which would have likely justified a salary increase with the team. This year, Davis enjoyed one of the most successful seasons of his eight year career. With a focus on the first half of the year he claimed three stages and overall victory at the Tour Down Under, as well as fourth place in Milano-Sanremo and a series of top-five stage results at the Giro d'Italia.
Davis' 2009 season was also marked by a mid-season drama at the Tour de France. The Australian missed out on a start in the event after a French court overruled the Amaury Sports Organisation's decision to exclude Tom Boonen from the race. Despite the incident, Davis closed his season with a series of strong performances at the Tour of Poland, fourth place at Vattenfall Cyclassics and second at Paris - Bruxelles.
Davis joined the Quick Step in August 2008, after five months with Estonian team Mitsubishi – Jartazi. Two years earlier his career had appeared to have come to a crossroads after he was linked to the 2006 Operación Puerto blood doping investigation. Davis was later cleared of involvement in the case and returned to competition with Discovery Channel from February 2007.
Although Davis is yet to announce a new team, Australian squad Fly V Australia has been floated as a possible destination. His brother, Scott Davis, has raced with the Continental outfit since the start of this year. The team have stated their ambition to race the Tour de France in 2012.
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