A new life for Gert Steegmans

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09.11.2006/ Gert Steegmans will join the Quickstep squad in January. During the first beach holiday of his life, Steegmans spoke with about the new life he is about to start.

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Gert Steegmans will race in the blue Quickstep jersey next year (picture: Cyclingheroes)

At the beginning of the 2006 season almost nobody knew who Gert Steegmans was, after this he was Robbie McEwen's perfect pilot in this years Tour De France that has certainly changed. Quickstep and Davitamon fought a long battle to get Steegmans signature and finally Steegmans signed with Quickstep, so next year the 26 year old rider will join the team of manager Patrick Lefevere. 

Earlier this month Steegmans was on a vacation on the tropical caribean island of Curaçao were he also started at the Amstel Curaçao Race. His neighbours at the Lions Dive resort were Alejandro Valverde, Fränk Schleck, Nico Eeckhout and George Hincapie. This says a lot about the new status Steegmans has after his improvement in the past season.Steegmans told earlier this month: "This is the first beach holiday of my life. It's ok, although i am more a man who likes "do" holidays. I like to do roadtrips, making pictures of landscapes and reading good books. Nevertheless i want to drive around the whole island before i leave." 

Steegmans traveled to Curaçao with his Swedish girlfriend Theresa. "We have a smooth relationship without planning anything for the future."

Steegmans had a great season: "The Tour was my launchpad. Suddenly i was catapulted. My best action was in Vitré when i catapulted Robbie to the front. I would love to see those images from the helicopter. It's all in a small corner. The first two days i felt bad because of the heat and some people asked what for i came to the Tour."

"Actually i knew from the Algarve (Tour of Algarve, Cyclingheroes) that 2006 would be the year of my break through. Those sprint victories and the second place in the overall finally gave me the selfconfidence that i didn't have in the past years becuase of dint of injuries and lots of other circumstances. At the moment i was with Boonen at the front of 'Omloop Het Volk'  was to a moment to remeber. It was like it was 10 years ago. We were hurting each other to assert that we were equally good. Meanwhile i got deaf from the sports director who shouted in my ear that i was not allowed to continue with Boonen. Tom told me afterwards that he took it amiss. I could understand him."

Steegmans will move to Monaco:"I will move in a big block of appartments on the Boulevard d'Italie, behind Boonen's appartment, on the side of the city center. You are a real crack if you enter the building quickly. I was there once. The space can use some paint."

About his move to Quickstep, Steegmans said: "Before the prologue of the Tour de France i gave them a chance but my employer didn't byte. Nevertheless it was a complicated and strange situation. It felt embarrassing. Meanwhile i did my job and wasn't to miserable to push Tom a bit so McEwen could do his thing. With this guy everything is about selfconfidence. I recieved that from Patrick Lefevere and not from Marc Coucke and Marc Sergeant. First they proposed a contract extension at Paris-Nice and than they backed off again."

Steegmans has to fill the gap caused because of the departure of Nick Nuyens from the Quickstep squad: "During the Tour of Switzerland i spoke with Tom (Boonen, Cyclingheroes) about it for the first time. He said to me: for this and that reason i would be happy to have you with us and for this and that reason i won't. But the pro's won from the contra's. I have to fill the gap of Nick Nuyens. I have to score in the Flemish semi classics and escort Tom at the Tour (Tour de France, Cyclingheroes). For the big jobs we have Tom Boonen and Paolo Bettini. I won't dig myself in as some people noticed already. Somebody told me that took 500 steps foreward this season. If i can do 250 steps more in 2007, i will be pleased."

Link to a video with Gert Steegmans (Flemish/Dutch)

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