Boonen prepared to change teams for 2017 contract

Belgian still hopes to remain at Etixx-QuickStep

Tom Boonen has said that he would be prepared to go to another team to find a contract for next season if necessary. However, the Belgian said that, ultimately, he would prefer to stay at Etixx-QuickStep.

"Whether I'm ready to go to another team? Absolutely,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “Though we have always complemented each other, and that will remain so. I will not necessarily ride somewhere else. Either way, I have already heard from a few teams. But most I do not feel really comfortable with."

Boonen has been with Etixx-QuickStep under its various guises since his second season as a professional when Patrick Lefevere helped him out of his contract with the US Postal squad at the end of 2002. Boonen has since repaid Lefevere’s faith with three Tour of Flanders and four Paris-Roubaix.

He signed a one-year extension to his contract last season, but that will run out at the end of this year. He had been toying with the idea of retirement but spent some time considering his options following his second place at Paris-Roubaix last month and chose to continue. His second to Mat Hayman at Roubaix was a rare positive in a tough Classics campaign for the Etixx-QuickStep team.

There are several big names in the transfer market this season, which could include Peter Sagan if his Tinkoff team fail to find a new sponsor. Sagan has been linked with a potential move to Etixx-QuickStep, with the backing of the Specialized, bike manufacturer. If that were to come to fruition, that could be a stumbling block for Boonen in staying with his long-time team.

While Greg Van Avermaet has tied himself to BMC for at least another season, fellow Classics contender Sep Vanmarcke is also out of contract at the end of the season, as is John Degenkolb and Edvald Boasson Hagen.

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