Meersman departure from Lotto Belisol not a concern, says Sergeant

Lotto Belisol team manager Marc Sergeant says the loss of Gianni Meersman, who recently signed with Omega Pharma-QuickStep, is a disappointment but gives no reason for further concern. Meersman announced his departure after the team was not awarded a place in top-15 teams for 2012 and thus not assured of receiving a ProTeam license for 2013.

The remaining riders on the Lotto Belisol roster have stated their intentions to remain with the team according to Sergeant, while he deals with the ProTeam license issue.

"Our riders have all stated that they are satisfied, so there is no cause for concern," Sergeant told Het Nieuwsblad.

While Lotto Belisol's continuation in the WorldTour is not guaranteed, Sergeant believes the delay was based on an "administrative error" and added "this is annoying," according to radsport-news. Sergeant explained that the loss of Meersman would cause the team to drop further down the standings in regard to UCI points however, by falling outside the top-15 teams they will be judged on criteria falling under the ethical, financial and administrative banners.

"Without Gianni we fall in the rankings from No.17 back to 18. This is not a disaster, but of course we lose a good rider. It's always the same story with a team that has limited resources," said Sergeant.

"I think of Greg Van Avermaet, Philippe Gilbert and now [Meersman]."

The team's future appears to be secured having received an additional sponsor in the form of Belgium's biggest telecommunication company Telenet. General manager Bill Olivier had stated the team would have room for one more sponsor for the coming season.

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