Boonen to Quick-Step; Is Gilbert Next?

Fotoreporter Sirotti


With yesterday’s annoucement that Tom Boonen signed a 2-year contract extension with Quick Step, the next logical question surrounds whether or not Omega Pharma-Lotto’s Philippe Gilbert will join him. Boonen seems to have decided to ease any possible pressure heading into the Tour de France by signing now, while Gilbert is delaying his announcement until after the Tour de France–possibly hoping a stage win or two and some time in the yellow jersey will drive up his asking price.

Gilbert has already mentioned Quick-Step as one of the 5 finalists for his services for the next three years. Does the Boonen signing make that more impossible? Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders are the only shared targets for the Belgian superstars–is that enough to drive Gilbert elsewhere?

Share your comments below.

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
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2 Responses to Boonen to Quick-Step; Is Gilbert Next?

  1. Jeremy says:

    Gilbert has said he wants to win each of the monuments, including Paris-Roubaix, AND that he wants a 3 year contract. If he's willing to wait 2 or 3 years to take a crack at Roubaix, then the conflicts aren't too serious.

    What about BMC? If Ballan takes a 2 year break, they'll need a replacement. No conflict for Gilbert there. Will Lotto or Omega-Pharma be willing to let Belgium's top rider go elsewhere? Seems like he has a lot of options that should, at first blush, be better fits from an ambition perspective. From a monetary perspective, who knows.

    • Julius says:

      Ahem, cough cough cough.

      I'm with Jeremy here: not too many conflicts between Gilbert and Boonen, excepting de Ronde. Gilbert will need one or two Roubaix finishes to get sharp enough to truly contend.

      In fact, Sanremo is one potential venue where they can *help* each other, Gilbert to slay the opposition on the capi, or if that doesn't work, Boonen for the kill. The thing is, Boonen is not a pure sprinter anymore, but he can power himself up better than most pure sprinters, so having somebody like Gilbert may work well for him. Gilbert will always be in the finale no matter what, maybe he'll be Boonen's lead-out in the (small) sprint.

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