For the first time, this meeting will include the complete ranks of the 2008 team as they prepare for the up-coming season.
For the 27 racers and the technical staff that make up the core of the team, this will be the perfect occasion to coalesce
as a group and examine some initial technical details. Also, new arrivals Stijn Devolder, Alexander Efimkin and Matteo Carrara
will have the chance to pedal with their new team-mates for the first time.
At the meeting there will also be time dedicated to carrying out photo shoots with sponsors in order to prepare the new
team brochures as well as all the promotional and informative material for the 2008 season. Paolo Bettini will be the star
of the first photo shoot tomorrow morning while awaiting the scheduled afternoon arrival of the rest of the team.
"We’re ready to start the sixth season - says Team Manager Patrick Lefevere -. It will be an important rally to lay
the foundations for the next phase. We hope that this year will be another round full of success and great satisfaction for
the team, the racers and our sponsors. Our main objective, as always, is to demonstrate that unity and tightness that has
always set our team apart, factoring into all the races on the calendar during the entire length of the season."
Like in the previous years, Tom Boonen's first race is at the Tour of Qatar, which takes place from January 27 until
February 1. After Quatar Boonen will start for the first time at the Tour of California (February 17-24), a stage
race that ends about a week before the races of the Belgian opening weekend.
Boonen could be hindered by the
jetlag, which is why the combined racing of California and the Omloop Het Volk (March 1) is not sure yet. Boonen
said: "I'll keep the Omloop Het Volk in mind for a while. A lot will depend on the weather situation in Belgium. Should the
weather be fine, I'll probably race both Het Volk and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne."
Boonen is at the team training camp in
Tuscany as well: "I might miss out on the Sportsman Of the Year gala on 16 December. I still have to discuss it
with the team weather or not I'll return slightly earlier. In the end, it is the greatest trophy one can get awarded in Belgium."
The Quickstep Team 2008 will launch a complete ‘up-to-date’ internet site on the 1st January 2008. You will
find it from January 1, 2008 on www.quickstepcycling.com.