De Jongh will remain as directeur sportif
Karsten Kroon is set to continue for another season with Saxo Bank. The Dutchman will turn 38 early next year, but he is set to sign a new contract with the team for 2014 later this week.
Saxo delayed in extending the contracts of a number of its riders as manager Bjarne Riis sought to find a replacement sub-sponsor for Tinkoff Bank after a parting of the ways with Russian magnate Oleg Tinkov. Last week, it was announced that Saxo Bank would make up the shortfall in Riis’ budget until a second sponsor is secured.
“I really wanted to do it and when I sat down with Bjarne, we got there quickly,” Kroon told AD Sportwereld, confirming that the deal will be made official later this week.
The Dutch newspaper also reports that directeur sportif Steven de Jongh will remain with the team next year. De Jongh left his position at Team Sky last year after confessing to doping as a rider, but he joined Saxo-Tinkoff in January of this year.
Kroon is in his second spell with Riis’ team, having first joined CSC ahead of the 2006 season. After a two-year hiatus with BMC in 2010 and 2011, he rejoined the Danish squad at the beginning of last season.
One of the team’s classics leaders in his CSC days – he finished on the podium of both Flèche Wallonne and Amstel Gold Race, and 4th at the Tour of Flanders – Kroon’s second coming at the squad has seen him ride largely in a supporting role.
“I am one of the pillars of the team. At this stage in my career, I have no need to chase results to keep riding, and I feel fine in that role,” Kroon said.
2014 will be Kroon’s 16th year in the professional peloton, but he refused to speculate on whether it would be his last. He turned professional with Rabobank in 1999. “I’m living year to year, but it would surprise me if I was still on my bike when I’m 42, like Chris Horner,” he said.
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