Kevin Seeldraeyers is close to signing a contract with Belgian Pro Continental team Wanty-Groupe Gobert. The 27-year old Belgian was part of Astana for the past two seasons. “There is no signature yet but nothing should stand in the way of Kevin coming to us,” sports director Hilaire Vanderschueren told Het Laatste Nieuws.
Vanderschueren is careful because he also had a verbal agreement with Ben Hermans. However, Hermans received a last minute offer from BMC and decided to sign for the WorldTour team. “That’s why I am a bit careful. I learned that a deal is never a deal before there is an actual signature, but nothing should stand in the way of his transfer [from Astana]."
Seeldraeyers turned pro in 2007 with Quickstep and won the white jersey for the best young rider in the 2009 Giro d'Italia. This season he won two stages in the Tour of Austria and finished third in the overall classification. He also showed his climbing ability in the Tour of Turkey by coming in second in the stage to Elmali mountain.
Seeldraeyers is the 20th rider to sign for the Belgian team that is the continuation of Accent Jobs-Wanty. Vacansoleil-DCM sports director Hilaire Vanderschueren brought sponsors to the team and Groupe Gobert joined the team as new co-sponsor. This enabled the team to sign better riders.
Vanderschueren took Mirko Selvaggi, Björn Leukemans, Frederik Veuchelen and Wesley Kreder with him from Vacansoleil-DCM. Kreder’s cousin Michel Kreder comes over from Garmin-Sharp. “It was a conscious decision to take a step down to Pro Continental level. I get a free role as finisher at Wanty-Groupe Gobert,” Kreder said.
From the Accent Jobs-Wanty team Jempy Drucker, James Vanlandschoot, Thomas Degand, Jérôme Gilbert, Gregory Habeaux, Roy Jans, Tim de Troyer and Kevin Van Melsen continue.
Other new signings are Nico Sijmens and Jan Ghyselinck from Cofidis. Wanty-Groupe Gobert is completed by Laurens de Vreese (Topsport Vlaanderen), Fréderique Robert (Lotto-Belisol), Jérôme Baugnies (To Win-Josan) and Marco Minnaard (Rabobank Development Team).
There were rumours that the team would be interested in signing Spanish riders Igor Antón and Samuel Sánchez to boost their chances of a Grand Tour wildcard. "Ghyselinck, Seeldraeyers and Selvaggi have not formally signed for the team yet," a team representative told Cyclingnews. "We like to have 20 riders for 2014 but if we manage to find additional sponsorship, we are still interested securing a big rider like for example Samuel Sánchez."
Italian sprinter Danilo Napolitano did not get a new contract with the Belgian team. Canadian rider Will Routley recently signed with Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies