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Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol) takes the win on stage 4 of Paris-Nice
Belgian avails of WorldTour uncertainty to make switch
Gianni Meersman has parted company with Lotto Belisol even though the Belgian had one season of his current deal still to run. Meersman took advantage of the fact that the squad is still waiting to learn if it will maintain its WorldTour status for 2013 to dissolve his contract, but he has yet to confirm his new team.
“I’ll ride for a team other than Lotto Belisol, that’s a certainty, but I don’t want to reveal the name of my new employer,” Meersman said in a statement released on Saturday, according to La Dernière Heure.
“I understand that people in the media want to know but I’ll leave it to my new team to communicate the news. There are still some points to clear up. I have a verbal agreement that I don’t want to endanger.”
Meersman joined Lotto Belisol last winter after four seasons at FDJ. The 26-year-old was understood to have been close to signing for RadioShack only for the team’s merger with Leopard Trek to limit the number of berths available.
Meersman enjoyed a solid start to life at Lotto Belisol, winning stages at the Volta ao Algarve and Paris-Nice, but his progress was stalled by an injury sustained at the Giro d’Italia. He returned to finish 3rd at the Clasica San Sebastian and played a supporting role for Philippe Gilbert at the world championships in Valkenburg.
“I won’t say much more on the reasons for my departure from Lotto Belisol. I’ll just say that we’re not leaving on bad terms and that it’s my decision. I see my move to another team as something decidedly better.”
Although Meersman was able to leave Lotto Belisol due to its still unresolved status for 2013, the Belgian team insisted that it was confident that it will remain part of cycling’s elite division next season. The final WorldTour places will be announced on November 26.
“Lotto Belisol has fulfilled all the conditions to get the WorldTour licence and expects to get it,” read a statement from the team.
“Of course Lotto Belisol regrets the departure of a rider like Gianni Meersman, but the team wants and needs to consider its financial possibilities and restrictions, that's why there possibly will be room for new talent. Lotto Belisol wishes Gianni Meersman all the best in the further development of his career.”