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Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM)
Two-time Tour of Flanders champion reunited with Dirk Demol
While Stijn Devolder had been strongly linked to RadioShack-Nissan earlier in the summer, the team confirmed today that the 32-year-old Belgian would join the Luxembourg-based ProTeam in 2013, as reported in sporza.be.
Devolder signed a two-year contract with RadioShack-Nissan in a homecoming of sorts as he'll once again be under the tutelage of Dirk Demol and Johan Bruyneel, his mentors for four years at US Postal and Discovery Channel from 2004 to 2007.
Devolder left Discovery Channel for Quick Step in 2008 and during his three years on the Belgian team he won the Tour of Flanders twice, in 2008 and 2009. Devolder signed for Vacansoleil-DCM in 2011 and has failed to win a race for the Dutch ProTeam, leading the squad to not renew his contract for the 2013 season.
"Let me be clear: the transfer has not come because of me," Dirk Demol told Sporza. "It was manager Johan Bruyneel himself that caused Devolder to ride for us next year."
It will be Demol, however, who will be tasked with returning Devolder to a level of fitness which delivered wins at the Ronde as well as two Belgian road championships, two Belgian time trial championships plus two wins in his national Tour of Belgium.
"Naturally it is my job to get Stijn back to that level," said Demol. "I know him better than anyone, I followed him right from childhood. His sickly season hurt my heart.
"I would like to give him more confidence now. That's a challenge I'm sure and I hope I succeed in my goal to get him back to his old level."