UPDATED: RadioShack confirms Belgian may leave
Gert Steegmans' return to Quick Step is expected to be announced soon, with the Tour de France stage winner coming back to the team after two years away. His current team, RadioShack, has confirmed that he can leave, although he still has a contract which must be bought out.
The 30-year-old Belgian turned pro with Lotto in 2003 and rode for Quick Step in 2007 and 2008. He then rode one year with Katusha before transferring to RadioShack in 2010.
According to Sportwereld.be, Steegmans spent a lot of time with his agent Paul De Geyter and Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere at Saturday's charity cyclo-cross race, sponsored by Tom Boonen, with the deal evidently being struck at that time.
Steegmans joined Katusha in 2009 but refused to sign the team's anti-doping agreement which called for, among other things, the repayment of five times the annual salary if a rider was found to have doped. The team refused to name him to its Tour de France squad and his contract was dissolved on August 5.
The Belgian joined RadioShack this year, debuting for it at the Tour Down Under. He then broke a collarbone when he was literally blown off his bike in the Paris-Nice prologue. He had no wins in the 2010 season.
The sprinter had his best successes in his two years at Quick Step, taking two stages in the Tour de France, Circuit Franco-Belge and Paris-Nice.
He will face formidable competition at Quick Step; in addition to Tom Boonen, the team's new signings for 2011 include sprinters Francesco Chicchi, Gerald Ciolek and neo-pro Frederique Robert.
RadioShack confirms Belgian may go
"Gert may indeed leave,” RadioShack spokesman Philippe Maertens confirmed to Sporza.be. “Why? Because he was not happy with us and we weren't really happy with him, either. Gert did not join us for the team training camp currently underway in Calpe.
"But it is premature to say that he is going to Quick Step,” Maertens continued. “As far as we are concerned, Gert can talk with various teams. But that team and RadioShack will have to make a deal, since he has a contract with us.”
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