Lotto Belisol team principal Marc Sergeant has opened the door for Sep Vanmarcke joining his team, telling Cyclingnews that the 23-year-old could be their number one transfer target and that, “we need a guy like him."
Vanmarcke's current contract expires at the end of this season and after a superb win in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad he will have a number of teams enquiring about his services for 2013 and beyond.
"He's free. We'd be interested in him for next year. I don't know about the money though. We'd have to see what he wants first but I think Garmin want to keep him as well," Sergeant told Cyclingnews the day before Paris-Roubaix.
An additional hurdle to Garmin's resilience may be Vanmarcke's desire to keep away from Belgian teams. At the start of the year he told Cyclingnews that he preferred the more relaxed environment of the American squad, where the constant gaze of the Belgian media was somewhat deflected.
Lotto certainly needs a leader for the cobbled Classics. Their superb start to the season has been curtailed in recent weeks and while the loss of Philippe Gilbert to BMC has of course been a factor, the team failed to sign a replacement in the off-season. Lars Bak has been ruled out with injury and missed the last few weeks of racing, while Andre Greipel has lost his form and perhaps some confidence since his blistering start to the year.
According to Sergeant the team could have kept Gilbert from joining BMC but that the biggest factor was down to salary.
"We didn't have the money. If we had the money I think he would have stayed."
For tomorrow's Paris-Roubaix Sergeant will be hoping that Greipel has fully recovered from his crash in Scheldeprijs early this week. The German fell after crossing the line and injured his hand but Sergeant believes that his leader is on the mend.
"He has had some troubles with his wrist but he says that it's getting better with each day. I hope has no pain tomorrow because then he can do a great race.
“We also have Marcel Sieberg who can go on for a long time but I think they need to anticipate and already be in a group with a car behind him."