Patrick Lefevere says he has strengthened Quick Step for the coming season and rejected Tom Boonen's criticism of the transfer decisions. “I am building a team with a solid base for the future,” said the experienced team manager.
Lefevere admitted to having difficulties because his "sponsoring contract expires after next season” and he is only offering one-year contracts. “As long as I have no certainty about what is possible after 2011, my options are limited," he told Het NIeuwsblad.
Boonen criticised the fact that Lefevere had not re-signed his close friends Jurgen Van De Walle and Maarten Wynants but the manager admitted that the one-year contracts he was offering were a major part of the problem.
"I'd like to keep Wynants and Van De Walle. But I can't hold a gun to them and demand that they sign for one year with an option. Other teams apparently gave them contracts for two years,” he explained.
Lefevere added that he "asked everyone on the team (including team leaders and doctors) to make a list of tips for attractive, well-priced riders. The Italians came away with some Italians. And yes, Cancellara, Contador and the Schlecks were also often mentioned, but I can still think of them myself.”
However, “From Boonen I know I got no suggestions. It is brave to stand up for your mates, it's nice to make friends with your teammates. But now the former world champion must cope with the fact that they have left his team," Lefevere said.
He is making the best of what he has, and noted that “We are not a Belgian, but a European team.” Newcomers for 2011 include Dutch national road champion Niki Terpstra, Belgian Andy Cappelle, German Gerald Ciolek and Italian Francesco Chicchi.