Frederik Willems is ready to work for both Philippe Gilbert and Jurgen Van Den Broeck
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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Frederik Willems is ready to work for both Philippe Gilbert and Jurgen Van Den Broeck

by Ben Atkins at 6:58 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Spring Classics
 
New OmegaPharma-Lotto signing recognises he may have less freedom than at Liquigas

frederik willemsAfter four years at Liquigas-Doimo Belgian Frederik Willems is coming home after signing for OmegaPharma-Lotto. In an interview with the La Derneiere Heure, the 31-year-old spoke of his return to a Belgian team and his hopes for the coming season.

“I spent four great seasons in Italy and I do not regret the experience,” he said, “but when I received the offer from Omega Pharma-Lotto, I thought it was time to return to Belgium.

“It was the perfect time,” he explained, “I had other contacts, even with Quick Step, but nothing concrete. I was honored by the offer that I was made by Omega Pharma-Lotto, charmed by the way in which they think of me in this team, which is still one of the very best in the world.

“It happened really fast,” he added; he was reportedly approached by the team during the spring classics.

In recent seasons for Liquigas-Doimo, Willems has ridden a highly varied programme. Such diversity includes overall victory in the 2009 Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde and riding as a valuable domestique for the victorious Vincenzo Nibali in this year’s Vuelta a España.

“I’ve showed that I can ride in different terrains, he said. “I should ride the early season classics and I hope to return to the Tour [de France] to help Jurgen [Van Den Broeck].”

He rode the Tour in the three years between 2007 and 2009. In that time though, one of the few times he gained distinction was as the other rider with Sandy Casar (Francaise des Jeux) to be taken down by a dog that strayed onto the course on stage 18 in 2007; Casar went on to win the stage, Willems drifted back to the peloton.

As well as supporting Van Den Broeck, the team’s Tour captain, in July he also hopes to be at the side of the team’s classics captain in the spring.

“I'll ride Majorca, the Algarve, [Omloop Het] Nieuwsblad and Tirreno[-Adriatico],” he explained. “I hope to then ride Milan-San Remo, where I never got to ride at Liquigas because the places were so sought after. I may have a little less of a free role than before, but I want to go well in the finalés of the classics, to help Philippe (Gilbert) to do his best.”

Willems is clearly impressed with his new classics captain. “In two years he has become a true leader,” he concluded.

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