Turns down Astana for lack of a three-year offer
Philippe Gilbert has narrowed the list of possible teams for next year to five. He will not announce his final selection until August 1, but his agent said that he remains adamant on a three-year contract with good pay and good sporting chances.
“We are in the final straight,” his agent Vincent Wathelet told sportwereld.be. The final five teams still with a chance to sign him are Quick Step, BMC, Sky, Lotto and Omega Pharma.
Gilbert's contract with Omega Pharma-Lotto expires the end of this season, and the sponsors are also splitting up. Each has said it will found another team for the coming year.
“The primary condition is that he be in a good sporting environment, and that he can sign for three years. For example, Astana and his friend Vinokourov could only offer two years for job security. This is not enough. I informed Alexandre on Sunday of the reason.”
Another breaking point may be the salary Gilbert is seeking, said to be three million Euro per year.
Gilbert has said that he would like to stay with a Belgian team, but at this point it is hard to tell what will happen with Omega Pharma, Lotto and Quick Step. Omega Pharma currently holds the ProTeam licence, and it remains to be seen which riders will stay with that team and which will leave. The same goes for Quick Step, as Tom Boonen has indicated he may leave for a new team.
“We have some time,” Wathelet said. “The most important thing is that Philippe is in top condition at the start of the Tour de France. On August 1 we will officially communicate where his future lies.
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