Cofidis comes in too low for Keukeleire's contract extension
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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cofidis comes in too low for Keukeleire's contract extension

by VeloNation Press at 11:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Last week the Cofidis team began negotiations to keep 21 year old prodigy Jens Keukeleire on the team beyond his current contract, which expires in 2011.  The young Belgian has already taken four wins this season, giving other teams plenty of reason to take an interest in his current situation.

The French team is hoping to extend Keukeleire's contract to 2012 in order to proactively eliminate the possibility of losing their up and coming talent.  At this point in the negotiations the two sides haven't been able to reach an accord.

"They have given us a proposal that we can't accept," said Keukeleire's manager Nico Mattan.  "We must find a happy medium."

Mattan was a professional cyclist for 13 years (1994-2007), and rode for Cofidis from 1999 to 2003.  He had several big wins while riding for the French team, including the Paris-Nice prologue in 2001 and 2003.

"Cofidis wants Jens, but of course they want him as cheaply as possible," he reasoned.  "Keukeleire should not earn 200,000 euros a year, but he should not ride for 40,000 euros," Mattan explained. "By May 15 I want Jens knows where he stands."

Keukeleire hit the headlines in early March when he won two races in three days - the GP Samyn and the opening stage of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen. After a couple more podium spots in West Flanders he was able to secure the race's overall victory.

He went on to win the prestigious Nokere Koerse Belgian classic and then finished 18th in his last race in mid-April, the GP de Denain Porte du Hainaut. Expectedly he didn't finish Paris-Roubaix or the Driedaagse De Panne, but was able to gain valuable experience for the future.

Presumably Mattan has given Cofidis the first shot at keeping the youngster, but if they don't come to agreeable terms by mid-month it looks like Keukeleire's signature will be fair game.


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