Belgian racer Stijn Devolder has extended his contract with Team QuickStep through 2010, with an optional year.
The Belgian tim trial champion, winner this year of Ronde Van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), will race with Patrick Lefevere’s team until the end of 2010.
“The agreement also contains an option clause for 2011,” Lefevere added. “Stijn’s contract extension is a very important part of the puzzle we’re putting together for the next three years. Stijn is one of the pillars, together with (Tom) Boonen, on which we’re building the future of the team.” Boonen, the 2008 Paris-Roubaix winner, has also extended his contract with QuickStep through 2010.
Devolder was Belgian national road champion in 2007, winning it while racing for Lance Armstrong’s Discovery Channel team. Armstrong has pegged Devolder as a potential Tour de France winner someday.
“I’ve found my true dimension with this team,” Devolder said. “I’m very pleased with the trust that the team and its sponsors have placed in me, and the responsibility that the team is giving me. Waiting to define our goals for 2009, I’ll do my best in last part of the season and attempt to give the team more successes.”
Juan Manuel Garate leaving QuickStep
After three years, Juan Manuel Garate is switching teams, riding for Rabobank through 2010.
“I’ve had some great years with this team,” the 32-year-old Basque rider said. “I’ve achieved some great results, like winning the green jersey in the 2006 Giro d’Italia. These kinds of decisions are never easy. I have a lot of friends in this team, and I’m leaving behind a great group of colleagues.
“But it was time for me to seek out new motivation and try new experiences,” he added. “I’d like to thank the QuickStep technical staff, the riders and the team staff for their earnestness and professionalism. I wish the team all the best for future success.”