Omega Pharma and Quick Step will join forces to create a single team in 2012, the two Belgian companies announced on Monday, ending months of speculation about their future involvement in the sport.
Both are currently first name sponsors of their own teams but will join forces to create a new Belgian super team in 2012.
“With this agreement, we continue to invest in a Belgian team, reinforced with international talent. As in previous years, our goal is to be one of the top teams in the WorldTour,” Marc Coucke, CEO of Omega Pharma said in a joint press release.
Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere confirmed that the parquet floor manufacturer would remain as a main sponsor, with Innergetic, who make bedding, also renewing their support.
“We are very pleased with the deal we reached with Omega Pharma/BCC, as much as we are about Quick Step’s renewal as co-sponsor and Innergetic as official partner. I would like to thank everyone involved for their professionalism during the negotiations,” Lefevere said.
Omega Pharma revealed it would end its links with the Belgian national lottery Lotto after the spring classics and had talks with six potential teams and sponsors. Coucke has opted to tie his reported €4.5 million budget with the Quick Step team rather than with other possible partners such as Vacansoleil, Highroad and Leopard Trek. The two sponsors worked together in 2003 and 2005 before Omega Pharma joined forces with Lotto.
Lefevere sold a majority stake in the team structure to Czech businessman Zdenek Bakala but has been working hard to secure the future of the team. Tom Boonen has re-signed with the team for a further two seasons, with an option for a third year.
However the names of other riders who will be part of the team remain unclear. Jurgen Van den Broeck and Jelle Vanendert have both opted to stay with the Lotto team in 2012 and Philippe Gilbert has still to decide his future. He is looking for a multi-million three-year contract and has had offers from a host of teams looking to share in his success.
This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.