The Belgian team Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner presented itself to the public on Tuesday in Anderlecht. The sponsor has extended its commitment for three years, until 2011. The squad has 18 racers, which mostly are Belgians. Four riders are from neighbouring France. The budget of the team is 2.5 million euro.
Manager Gérard Bulens summarised the team's goals very practically. "We want to be a great small team," said Bulens to Sportwereld. To make the team great, they signed Sven Nys during the 2008 season. Nys also already gave the squad a national title in cyclo-cross.
But the squad is mainly focused on the road, with Bert de Waele as the leader. Denis Flahaut, a strong sprinter, has moved over from Saunier Duval and experienced Geert Verheyen is also a captain on the road. Mountain biker Filip Meirhaeghe will also participate in the road races and tackles his last season as a pro.
De Waele has two goals for 2009. "I want to win a race that is shown on TV and I want to make the Worlds selection for Mendrisio."
Despite his 'cross background, Nys will also race on the road, one of the main reasons for his switch from Rabobank, where his options were limited. "I should start the Ronde van België and the Ster Elektrotoer to have an ideal preparation for the Belgian road championships."
The national road title event is on June 28 in Aywaille and one of the main objectives for Bulens. "There I want to see my racers do well. It is an attractive parcours. With riders like Bert De Waele, Sven Nys en Bert Scheirlinckx we have all trumps in the hand."
Bulens wants to top the nine season wins from last year. "But I have no illusions. The candidates for the Classics wins are not with us. We need to be in the breaks and go with the others as long as we can in the final. Our sponsor is a Belgian bank, without presence in other countries, so it is logical we predominantly will do the Belgian races."
The Belgian racers are Frédéric Amorison, Koen Barbé, Dirk Bellemakers, Jonathan Bertrand, Bert De Waele, Sébastien Delfosse, Benjamin Gourgue, Filip Meirhaeghe, Kevin Neirinck, Sven Nys, Kevin Peeters, Rob Peeters,Bert Scheirlinckx and Geert Verheyen. From France there are four, David Boucher, Matthieu Drouilly, Denis Flahaut and Martial Ricci Poggi.