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by Shane Stokes
December 2, 2014
Former Tour de France stage winner Gert Steegmans will add his sprinting speed and Classics strength to the Trek Factory racing lineup in 2015, with the 34 year old Belgian confirmed as the 27th and final signing to the American team today.
Steegmans has been searching for contract after not being retained by Omega Pharma-QuickStep and has found an eleventh hour slot with the WorldTour squad.
“I’m happy to have landed a team for 2015,” he said. “I’ve been training hard these last weeks and now I can focus on training without having to worry about contract negotiations.
“Trek Factory Racing is a great team and has excellent support staff. It’s a young team, but the management has a clear, long-term vision.”
Steegman brings much experience to the team, having clocked up twelve years as a pro rider. During that time he has competed with the Lotto-Domo, Quick Step-Innergetic, Katusha, RadioShack and Omega Pharma-QuickStep teams. He took stage two in the 2007 Tour de France and then returned the following year to win the final stage, beating the other sprinters on the Champs Elysées.
His palmares also includes stage wins in many other races including Paris-Nice, the Volta ao Algarve and the Four Days of Dunkirk, as well as the overall classification in the Circuit Franco Belge. He also took single day victories in the Memorial Rik Van Steenbergen, Halle-Ingooigem and Nokere Koerse.
“I’m excited to get to know many new faces, starting next week at the team camp in Spain,” he said. “I hope to support Fabian (Cancellara) in the Cobblestone Classics and to share my experience with the young sprinters of the team.”
Apart from Cancellara, Steegmans will ride alongside 25 other riders, including Frank Schleck, Bauke Mollema, Stijn Devolder, Haimar Zubeldia and Boy Van Poppel. They are drawn from 14 different countries and according to the team, it will be the most international team on the WorldTour.
“We’re stoked to have Gert in the team,” said the team’s general manager Luca Guercilena. “I know him personally from the times where we were both at QuickStep. He’s one of the biggest engines in the peloton and he’s very motivated to have a great season.
“This is a last-minute signing for us and we’ll start working on Gert’s training schedule and race program right away.”
Trek Factory Racing for 2015:
Boy Van Poppel
Danny Van Poppel