Gert Steegmans has returned to racing for the first time since June, finishing eighth in a criterium in Wolvertem, Belgium, this weekend. Steegmans wore the kit of his private sponsor BBB, a bike parts company, and has been linked to Mark Cavendish's Columbia team for next year.
Steegmans announced last week that he and Team Katusha had agreed to cancel his contract for the remainder of the season. However the team had denied that and claimed that the contract was still valid, after placing the rider on inactive status for refusing to sign its anti-doping charter.
Steegmans' manager Paul De Geyter is due to return from holiday today, "and I suspect that he will immediately get into action. I don't want to find just find any new team . I don't need to race any more this season." The most important aspect, Steegmans said, was to find a team , "where I feel at home."
The two teams rumoured to be interested in his signature are Bbox Bouygues Telecom and Columbia-HTC. Alan Peiper, Columbia Directeur Sportif, told La Derniere Heure, "We don't see him as part of the Cavendish sprint train, but rather as a candidate for the Spring Classics."
The 28-year-old didn't comment on either team, saying, "I do not respond to the names I've seen appearing in the press. But occasionally I have a good laugh over one or the other."
For now, Steemgans just seemed happy to be racing again: "It was a pleasure to wear a race number again," he told the Gazet van Antwerpen.