By Susan Westemeyer
Niko Eeckhout of Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen knows what he wants to accomplish this season: Winning the Tour of Flanders would be great, but he would be happy with a top ten finish. The current Belgian road champion intends to ride for another two years, Eeckhout said yesterday at the Pro-Continental team's presentation.
"If I have the same form this year that I had last year, then the top ten ought to be in reach," he said, according to Sporza. "That would be beautiful." He is also looking to do well in the Omloop Het Volk and Paris-Roubaix.
Team Manager Christophe Sercu looked back with satisfaction at the team's 2006 season. "We had Willems' overall win in Bessèges, Veuchelen's solo victory in Dwars door Vlaanderen, and Eeckhout's Belgian title, as well as other successes." And 2007 has started out well, too, he noted, with two stage wins in the Tour Down Under.
Director Sportif Walter Planckaert said, "We have a team that can compete the whole year. 30 wins like in 2006 is perhaps a bit much, but we ought to be able to get 20 to 25."
Steven Caethoven, who won the second stage of the Tour Down Under last month, hopes to ride well enough this season to gain a contract with a ProTour team next year. "It is time to make the step," he explained to Het Laatse Nieuws. "I had an offer from a larger team after my first pro year, but it was too early. Now I am more mature and more experienced."
Riders: Bart Vanheule (Bel - 10/11/1983), Benny De Schrooder (Bel - 23/07/1980), Dimitri De Fauw (Bel - 13/07/1981), Evert Verbist (Bel - 27/06/1984), Frederik Veuchelen (Bel - 04/09/1978), Glenn D'Hollander (Bel - 28/12/1974), Ilzo Keisse (Bel - 21/12/1982), Jelle Vanendert (Bel - 19/02/1985), Johan Coenen (Bel - 04/02/1979), Kenny De Haes (Bel - 10/11/1984), Kenny Lisabeth (Bel - 22/06/1981), Koen Barbé (Bel - 20/01/1981), Kurt Hovelynck (Bel - 02/06/1981), Matthew Gilmore (Bel - 11/09/1972), Nico Eeckhout (Bel - 16/12/1970), Nikolas Maes (Bel - 09/04/1986), Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel - 13/06/1982), Serge Pauwels (Bel - 21/11/1983), Steven Caethoven (Bel - 09/05/1981), Sven Renders (Bel - 12/08/1981), Tom Stubbe (Bel - 26/05/1981) and Wesley Van der Linden (Bel - 07/03/1982).
Management: Team Manager Christophe Sercu, Directeurs Sportifs Roger Swerts, Jean-Pierre Heynderickx and Walter Planckaert.
See Cyclingnews'Teams Database for more information.