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Steegmans a Good Pickup For Quick Step

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Patrick Lefevre made a move to deepen his slightly depleted ranks over the weekend when his Quick Step team added Gert Steegmans back to the fold. Steegmans, late of Radio Shack and Katusha, hasn't had much fun since he left Tom Boonen's side after a very strong 2008 season. The following year, hired by Katusha to be their co-lead sprinter (with Robbie McEwen), Steegmans fell out with the team after refusing to sign the ridiculous contract provision Katusha asked of all their riders before the '09 Tour whereby anyone caught doping would repay five times their contract to the team. Steegmans walked, wound up on Radio Shack, and had another forgettable year in 2010 with an early crash at Paris-Nice and his sidelining for the Tour.

Despite all this, Steegmans is only 30 years old and has produced a few results which suggest he's got plenty left to offer to the right team. Steegmans was a strong third in Paris-Tours last year. He also had some near misses in stages of the Franco-Belge, Tour de Belgique, and TdU. So yeah, he can still sprint. The question I have is, how much more is there? He could take over the Wouter Weylandt role of sprinter for the races Boonen isn't after, particularly in stage races, without adding a thing to his game. But after languishing for two years, is it possible that Steegmans has a good deal more to offer? He was pretty active in the 2007 Ronde, in the late Cancellara breakaway, at Boonen's behest. He's been strong in Driedaagse de Panne and the Scheldeprijs. And there's that stage win in the Tour -- all good signs if Quick Step is to make a play for the Tour de France points comp which, under the new rules, will probably mean teams will need 2-3 point-scoring threats.

Anyway, who knows, but buying low on a big, strong, experienced Fleming who sprints well is never a bad idea. Especially not for the boys in Blue.