Belgian hopes for classics starts
Iljo Keisse has extended his contract with Omega Pharma-QuickStep which will see him ride for the team until the end of 2014.
The 29-year-old Belgian scored the biggest win of his road career earlier this season, claiming stage 7 of the Tour of Turkey having spent the day in an early breakaway and then launching a solo attack with 7km left to race.
"Iljo is improving year by year on the road races," Patrick Lefevere said. "This year he won also an unforgettable stage in Turkey with a thrilling final. We believe he can improve even more and become a good team player. Iljo is also a great track rider. With him we have the possibility to guarantee visibility to our sponsors even in the winter, during the track season."
It was a welcome win for Keisse as he's undergone a trying period of time following a doping positive at the 2008 Six Days of Gent. The Belgian federation banned him for two years then lifted that ban at the end of 2009 and he resumed racing. The UCI appealed that decision, and the Court of Arbitration for sport overturned it, confirming that Keisse was to sit out his entire ban. He was allowed to ride in all areas other than Belgium as of August 2011, but was only allowed to ride in Belgium again as of January 27, 2012.
"It's an honor to be a part of this team even in the future," Keisse said. "In the last years the team always supported me, even in the difficult moments. This year I participated also in Paris-Roubaix, my dream race. I hope to be able to compete in the great classics even in the next years and I will work for it. Now I will focus on the last part of the road season and then, during the winter I will ride also few Six Days, maybe not all of them. My first focus, in agreement with the team, is to prepare as best as possible for the 2013 road season."
There will be many familiar faces at Omega Pharma-QuickStep next season with Gert Steegmans, Julien Vermote, Niki Terpstra, and Nikolas Maes all extending their contracts into 2013 and Matteo Trentin, Stijn Vandenbergh and Andy Fenn, renewing through 2014.
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