During their mid-December rendezvous in the rolling hills of Tuscany, the new look Quick.Step team were snapped on a training ride by Cyclingnews photographer Roberto Bettini testing new equipment from bike supplier Specialized. However, due to contractual agreements with outgoing sponsors, the pictures were not available for release until the new year.
Following the departures of Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas), Guido Trenti (Liquigas), Nick Nuyens (Cofidis) and Servais Knaven (T-Mobile), the 2007 line-up has been bolstered by two-time Ronde van Vlaanderen winner Peter Van Petegem and compatriot Gert Steegmans - both riders making the switch from arch rivals Davitamon-Lotto (now Predictor-Lotto). After serving as Robbie McEwen's lead-out man during the Tour de France, Steegmans will no doubt add valuable horsepower to the Quick.Step train that delivered Tom Boonen to 21 victories in 2006.
It remains to be seen whether the team can accommodate the aspirations of Boonen, Van Petegem and world champion Paolo Bettini in the spring classics; Bettini has already stated his desire to win the Ronde and the next two world road race championships before a possible retirement at the end of 2008.