Ballan declines, Quick Step denies

Recent rumours in Italy have indicated that Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere tried to lure...

Recent rumours in Italy have indicated that Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere tried to lure Alessandro Ballan to his squad but the world champion declined the offer.

Ballan told La Gazzetta dello Sport that, "If this offer had come before [the world championships], I would have gone there, but now I see that it's not right for the world champion to play servant to Tom Boonen."

The Italian is keen to perform well in next year's Spring Classics and added that, "I want a team in my service for the Flemish classics." After winning the 2007 Tour of Flanders he's become a local favourite and explained that, "There is a fan club in the pipeline for me and a website – they really like me in Belgium."

Meanwhile, Belgium news agency Belga has reported that contrary to Italian media coverage, Quick Step never actually offered Ballan a contract. In a press release issued by the team, Quick Step said that "No proposal has been made to Ballan; not before and not after his impressive victory in Varese."

Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere added that, "Ballan is a rider of exceptional value, but in our team we have many riders with similar qualities."

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