It looks like Omega-Lotto might have found its man to replace Cadel Evans and is doing so with a rising young talent.
According to reports in Het Laatste Nieuws, the Belgian team is close to signing away Roman Kreuziger from Italy’s Liquigas for next season.
With Evans heading to BMC, the Belgian team is looking for someone to fill the void. Given his record, the Czech-born all-rounder would be an ideal candidate.
At 23, Kreuziger finished ninth overall in the 2009 Tour de France. He’s proved he’s more than capable at knocking out stage-race victories, winning the Tour de Romandie and Tour de Suisse over the past two years.
Liquigas is overloaded with GC talent, with Ivan Basso, Franco Pellizotti and Vicenzo Nibali all dueling for leadership duties.
Basso is also hinting that he wants to return to the Tour de France in 2010 for the first time in four years, so Kreuziger would be wise to find a new team with more room to grow. He’s still under contract with Liquigas, but Omega-Lotto seems ready to open its wallet to pay a buy-out clause.
In other team news, Omega-Lotto has re-signed Jurgen van den Broeck, who finished 15th in this year’s Tour, through 2011. At 26, the former Discovery Channel rider enjoyed a solid Tour, often riding for his own interests at the expense of then team-captain Evans.
Evans, of course, later won the rainbow jersey in Mendrisio and has since left the Belgian outfit to join Swiss-backed, U.S.-registered BMC.