Omega Pharma and Quick-Step teams to merge

The Belgian cycling teams Quick-Step and Omega Pharma-Lotto have announced they will merge next season. The new team, that will be launched on New Year’s Day 2012, will be known as Team Omega Pharma-Quick-Step. The current director of Quick-Step Patrick Lefevere will be its Manager.

The two sponsors will take turns in financing the team with Omega Pharma sponsoring the team for the first two seasons with an option of a third and Quick-Step taking over for the next three years.

The founder and CEO of pharmaceutical company Omega Pharma Marc Coucke told journalists that “With this agreement we are continuing to invest in a Belgian team, backed up by some international talent,".

"Our objective remains to continue as one of the top teams in the world."

However, the announcement said nothing about the line-up of the new team and it is unclear whether Quick-Step leaders Tom Boonen and Sylvain Chavanel or Omega Pharma’s Philippe Gilbert will stay with the newly-merged team. 

Gilbert learned of merger online

Omega Pharma’s Phillippe Gilbert says that he is unhappy not to have been told about the merger before it became public knowledge.

“I am upset to have learned from the web that Omega Pharma is to be merged with Quick Step," he told the website of the Francophone daily ‘Le Soir’.

"I would have preferred out of respect for my results and the rewards I bring my sponsors to have been informed beforehand.”

"I would like to repeat that I am the only one to decide what will be my next step. Up till now I have received interesting offers from Lotto, BMC, Quick-Step and Astana.”

"I regret that I am not able as promised to inform my supporters and the press as to my decision but suffice to say that the last official contact I had with BCC (the official name of Omega Pharma) was through our respective lawyers."