By Susan Westemeyer
One year ago, Gert Steegmans was a "Nobody," according to sportwereld.be, but then he won two stages of the Volta ao Algarve and finished second in the overall. And he is looking to repeat his success this year.
"I want to out-sprint Alessandro Petacchi," he said. "That would be beautiful. And why shouldn't it succeed? I saw how easily Boonen beat him in Qatar and I have also been faster than Boonen."
Steegmans, 26, changed this year from Davitamon-Lotto to Quick-Step, and also moved to Monaco, close to teammate Tom Boonen. "I am stronger than a year ago," he noted. "I could train perfectly in Monaco."
After Portugal, he has his eye fixed on a race in his Belgian homeland. "I am ready for the Omloop Het Volk," he announced, but he is staying with his step-by-step plan. "Last year I learned how to crawl; now I want to learn to walk and next year I just want to run. The big Classics are always welcome, but first I want to win one of the semi-classics."