Media reports in Belgium suggest that the long-running Quick-Step Floors franchise is poised to announce contract deals to assure the team’s future for four more years.
Team boss Patrick Lefevere had put a June 30 deadline on his quest to assure the team’s future in the post-Tom Boonen era. Citing sources, Het Laatste Nieuws reported that Lefevere has penned four-year deals with several key sponsors to assure the team’s future.
Lefevere, however, said the deals are not finalized, adding this barb on Twitter:
The report said that Lidl, Quick-Step, and Specialized will all remain as sponsors, with team owner Zdenek Bakala also committed to the team’s long-term future. A press conference could be held on the eve of the Tour de France later this week to confirm the news.
Earlier this season, Lefevere warned that the team’s future was far from settled, and put a late June deadline on securing sponsors in order to be able to sign his key riders to new contracts.
Despite the retirement of franchise rider Boonen, the team is loaded with big-name talent, including Marcel Kittel, Zdenek Stybar, Philippe Gilbert, Daniel Martin, Niki Terpstra, and Fernando Gaviria. Without assured sponsors in place going into the Tour de France, however, those top-tier riders would be under pressure to search out contracts with new teams.
So far in 2017, Quick-Step has won 35 UCI-ranked races and leads the WorldTour team ranking.
Quick-Step announced its Tour de France lineup on Wednesday, the final team to confirm its nine-man roster for Saturday’s start in Düsseldorf:
Jack Bauer (NZL)
Gianluca Brambilla (ITA)
Philippe Gilbert (BEL)
Marcel Kittel (GER)
Daniel Martin (IRL)
Fabio Sabatini (ITA)
Zdenek Stybar (CZE)
Matteo Trentin (ITA)
Julien Vermote (BEL)