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UPDATED: Omega Pharma confirms talks, but with three teams
Omega Pharma and Quick Step may be on the verge of joining to form a Belgian “super team” for the coming season, the Gazet van Antwerpen said.The announcement could be made this week before the Tour de France start on Saturday. Omega Pharma has confirmed the talks but said that it is talking with two other teams.
Omega Pharma and Lotto had already announced that they would part ways the end of this season, and both have said that they intend to keep sponsoring a team in the future.
Quick Step was recently acquired by Czech businessman Zdenek Bakala, giving it financial security, but manager Patrick Lefevere is still searching for a new title sponsor.
Omega Pharma and Quick Step previously worked together as Quick Step-Davitamon in 2003 and 2004.
Negotiations between the two teams started several weeks ago, the Belgian website said, with an announcement expected soon.
Quick Step recently announced that former world champion Tom Boonen had extended his contract through 2014. The current Omega Pharma-Lotto team features top-ranked Philippe Gilbert, who has said he would like to continue to ride for a Belgian team.
Omega Pharma-Lotto financial manager confirmed that the team wants to announce which team it will work with next year before the Tour starts on Saturday. However, Quick Step is not yet confirmed, he told sporza.be
"I still have to to talk with a lot of people about the the new project," he said. “The group around Patrick Lefevere is one of the three candidates with whom we wish to connect our destinies. We're also talking with Leopard Trek and Vacansoleil-DCM."
"We hope to find a solution,” Coeman said “At the end of this week the case should be completed, without speculation, so that we go to the start of the Tour with a cool head.”