Cyclo-crosser Dieter Vanthourenhout will join his cousin Sven in the professional ranks after signing a professional contract with the Palmans-Sapim team which will take effect January 1, 2008.
Vanthourenhout was under contract with the Easypay team, managed by Dirk Vanopbroeke for one and a half years. "It is with sorrow that we see Vanthourenhout leave, but we couldn't match the offer that he received from Palmans-Sapim," Vanobroeke said.
The 22 year old will ride in the colours of Palmans as of the GP Sven Nys, being held on January 1. "I received an offer from the team a few days ago. I didn't have to consider it for very long. Certainly not as it was a pro contract. I can now concentrate fully on cyclo-cross. It is the intention that I gradually keep growing through the years," Vanthourenhout said.
Vanthourenhout has been having a break-out year, scoring top finishes in the Vlaamse Houtlandcross (4th), GP Stad Hasselt (7th) and Koksijde World Cup (11th). He is currently ranked 24th in the UCI rankings.
The young Belgian will ride alongside Belgians Niels Albert, Davy Commeyne and Tom Van Den Bosch as well as Czech rider Radomir Simunek
"We wanted to have Dieter as our leader for next season. For that reason Easypay wanted to offer him a five year contract. Because we are not a continental team, Dieter can't ride any pro races," Vanobroeke said
"We find it disappointing that he is leaving, but we wish him success in his future pro career," Vanobroeke said, who is now on the lookout for new talent to strengthen his team.