Tour de France stage winner Bakelants left stranded by collapse of Alonso project
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tour de France stage winner Bakelants left stranded by collapse of Alonso project

by VeloNation Press at 7:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
“It is extremely difficult to eradicate the uncertainty about next year out of my head”

Jan BakelantsHe’s enjoyed the best season of his career but things now look complicated for Jan Bakelants; the Tour de France stage winner had been due to go to Fernando Alonso’s new team, but must now instead look for a different setup.

Until yesterday, the 27 year old Belgian was sure that he would be part of the Spanish setup next year. However the Euskaltel Euskadi team confirmed media reports that it had been unable to reach an agreement with Alonso, and that the transfer of the WorldTour licence plus the start of the new squad would not now happen.

“The sky fell on my head. And that's an understatement,” current RadioShack Leopard rider Bakelants writes in his column in the Gazet van Antwerpen. “Since yesterday my future as a cyclist is again uncertain. I had an agreement with the team of Fernando Alonso, the old Euskaltel - Euskadi. It was very important to me: they wanted me really.”

Things have now changed, unfortunately, and he and many others have been left scrambling to find contracts.

“Until Monday morning I was sure my team for next season. Indeed, even the contracts were ready. They would be signed here in Tuscany. But now the whole project won’t happen.”

Bakelants said that he doesn’t know the reason, and indeed isn’t set on finding out. The fact is that the team won’t happen, and he is left without a deal. “The dream is shattered, and I have to continue,” he said.

Alonso commented on the news yesterday, confirming that the project would stop. He didn’t go into details why an agreement wasn’t reached, but said that he would work on having a team ready for 2015. That’s of little consolation to Bakelants and many others who were banking on the setup being in place next season.

The Belgian rider should normally have had a choice of teams for next year, based on his strong season. He took a superb solo victory on stage two of the Tour de France, taking a yellow jersey that he would hold for two days. He also won last week’s Grand Prix de Wallonie, was third in both the Tour of Luxembourg and the national road race championships and fourth overall in the Eneco Tour.

Bakelants should normally be focussed completely on the world championships, but instead has this additional stress to deal with. “I have a great Tour de France behind and proved last week in Wallonia that I'm in great shape,” he said. “But at the same time it is extremely difficult to eradicate the uncertainty about next year out of my head.”

 

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