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Devolder extends, Garate to Rabobank

Quick Step is seeing some changes going into the 2009 season, with Tour of Flanders champion Stijn Devolder sticking around and Spanish veteran Juan Manuel Garate heading to Rabobank. After turning pro with U.S. Postal Service in 2004, Devolder joined Quick Step in 2008 and everyone seems pretty pleased with the results. Devolder signed a contract that will keep him at Quick Step through the 2010 season, with a clause for a one-year extension.

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By Andrew Hood

Quick Step is seeing some changes going into the 2009 season, with Tour of Flanders champion Stijn Devolder sticking around and Spanish veteran Juan Manuel Garate heading to Rabobank.

After turning pro with U.S. Postal Service in 2004, Devolder joined Quick Step in 2008 and everyone seems pretty pleased with the results. Devolder signed a contract that will keep him at Quick Step through the 2010 season, with a clause for a one-year extension.

“Stijn’s contract extension is a very important part of the puzzle we’re putting together for the next three years,” said Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere. “Stijn is one of the pillars, together with (Tom) Boonen, on which we’re building the future of the team.”

Devolder, 29, won Flanders as well as the Tour of the Algarve and the Tour of Belgium all in the first half of the season.

The Kortrijk native is more than happy to stay with Belgium’s biggest team.

“I’ve found my true dimension on this team,” he said. “I’m very pleased with the trust that the team and its sponsors have placed in me and the responsibility the team is giving me. Ahead of defining my goals for 2009, I will try to do my best in the last part of this season and attempt to give the team more successes.”

Garate, meanwhile, leaves Quick Step after three years on the Belgian team to head to Rabobank for the 2009-2010 seasons.

“I’ve had some great years with this team. I’ve achieved some great results, like winning the green jersey in the 2006 Giro d’Italia. These kinds of decisions are never easy,” Garate said. “I have a lot of friends in this team and I’m leaving behind a great group of colleagues. But it was time for me to seek out new motivation and try new experiences. I’d like to thank Quick Step technical staff, the riders and the team staff for their earnestness and professionalism. I wish the team all the best for future success.”

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