Bakelants ‘perfect addition’ to Omega Pharma Quick Step team
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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bakelants ‘perfect addition’ to Omega Pharma Quick Step team

by Shane Stokes at 10:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Peace of mind for Tour de France stage winner prior to disputing world road race championships tomorrow

Jan BakelantsPreviously thought to be deliberating between Jan Bakelants and Thomas de Gendt for the one remaining place on the team, the Omega Pharma Quick Step squad has finally opted for the former and today announced an agreement to bring him on board.

The Belgian rider will transfer to the team from RadioShack Leopard, and will seek to replicate or exceed the successful season he had in 2013. He won a stage and wore yellow in the Tour de France, scooping that through an impressive solo move which – just- held off the main bunch.

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 had previously an agreement with the new setup that would have seen Formula One driver Fernando Alonso take over the Euskaltel Euskadi team. However that collapsed on Monday, leaving him stranded.

He said earlier this week that he was very stressed out about it and that he had found it hard to concentrate fully on the worlds with that on the back of his mind.

Today’s announcement will see him finally able to relax and to try to have a strong ride tomorrow.

“I am happy and proud to be a part of this team,” he said, speaking about the contract. “These past few weeks I've been in touch with the team. Here at the World Championships in Florence I had a final meeting with Lefevere and we came to an agreement.

“OPQS is a great squad with a great attitude, I'm very pleased to be a part of this project. It's a great step for my career. I see myself as a rider for the hilly races, for the one-day races like the Liège-Bastogne-Liège and as a stage hunter. My goal is to be useful to the squad next year, precisely in those kinds of races.”

Patrick Lefevere is pleased with his new signing, and believes that the 2008 Tour de l’Avenir winner will be what he terms a ‘perfect addition’ to the squad.

“For a few years now he has been among the best riders on the circuit and this season he reaffirmed his skills with excellent results,” he said. “We are very pleased with the agreement we reached.

“Bakelants is a well-rounded rider, one who can shine in the Wallonie Classics. He will also figure as a major player as he hunts for stages in the major tours. He is expected to take top placings in the shorter stage races, too.”


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