World cyclo-cross champion Zdenek Stybar has confirmed rumours suggesting that he is on the verge of quitting the Telenet-Fidea team to join Quick Step. The move would enable the Czech to combine a top-level road program with his existing cyclo-cross commitments.
Speaking to Sporza, Stybar admitted that he had been close to re-signing with Telenet-Fidea. “Last Monday I was about to complete the deal, but I didn’t agree with some things in the contract and then I received a very good offer from Quick Step, which really surprised me,” said Stybar.
The Czech added that Telenet-Fidea team manager Hans Van Kasteren will have the final word on the deal. However, Stybar confessed to being “very close to Quick Step”.
Stybar, who will be 25 next month, recently admitted that he would like to join a team that would enable him to race in the Spring Classics, and specifically the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. He was subsequently linked with a number of teams, including Sky, Landbouwkrediet-Colnago and Française des Jeux. It is now clear that Quick Step were also keen on the Czech.
According to reports in the Belgian press, the proposed deal with Patrick Lefévère’s team would start on March 1, when Stybar’s current deal ends. As well as offering him the possibility of competing in the Classics, the new deal is also likely to enable the Czech to take part in the cross-country mountain bike race at the 2012 London Olympics.
Knowing of Stybar’s hopes for road success, Van Kasteren had been working on plans to build a continental road team around the Czech, but admitted earlier this week that they have been shelved. Van Kasteren also revealed that he will be stepping down as Telenet-Fidea boss at the end of the year as a result of regular criticism of his management of the strongest team in cyclo-cross.