Two more years on Dutch squad for Belgian strong man
30-year-old Belgian Björn Leukemans has signed on for two more years with the Vacansoleil-DCM team, he announced on his personal website today.
"After the season, there have been discussions with the management team," he wrote. "They appreciated the performances I put down in the Spring and Fall, and they wanted not only to improve my wages but to extend my contract until 2013."
Vacansoleil general manager Daan Luijkx told Cyclingnews that the contract has not yet been signed, but that the verbal agreement had been made for both Leukemans and his compatriot Kevin Van Impe (QuickStep), who was offered a one-year deal.
Luijkx said Leukemans had shown great value to the team in the Classics. "Not just this year, but every season he has had good performances. If you look at every race, he was always at the front - Tour of Flanders [7th], Paris-Roubaix [13th], Amstel Gold [7th], Liège - Bastogne - Liège [9th], and in the final part of the year at the Canadian races [6th and 14th]. He has also served as a mentor for the young guys in the Classics."
The 2012 season will be an extended audition for Van Impe, 30, who Luijkx said was offered a one-year contract "to see if he fits with the team".
Leukemans is excited to continue with the Dutch team, concluding his entry by writing, "For the next two years, I want to defend the colors of Vacansoleil-DCM with as much conviction and enthusiasm as before."
Vacansoleil made the UCI's top 15 teams in its determination of sporting criteria for the 2012 WorldTour, and Luijkx said he's confident that the team will be granted entry into the top tier for the second year in a row.
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