Belgian weighing up options after bumper Classics season
Björn Leukemans will enter contract renegotiations with Vacansoleil next week after one of the strongest Classics periods of his 10-year professional career. The 32-year-old Belgian says he has also been approached by a squad of "big name".
On Sunday, Leukemans finished sixth at Paris-Roubaix, his fourth top-ten finish of the three week cobbled Classic period. In his second season with Dutch squad Vacansoleil, Leukemans' consistent performances have seen his career boosted with a second wind.
"I am eternally grateful to the team that I could launch my second career," said Leukemans, according to Sporza. "Next week my agent will sit down at the table with Vacansoleil. The team wants me to continue longer with them, but I have also been asked to race with a top rider. But I won't say who."
With Vacansoleil's 2010 Classics campaign ending at Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, the team confirmed to Cyclingnews on Wednesday that they will be hoping to extend Leukemans' current contract.
"He has a contract until the end of 2011," said Vacansoleil's Press Officer Frank Kwanten. "There will be a re-evaluation next week, after the Classics."
While he would not be drawn on the identity of the rival team who have approached him, Leukemans would not rule out the possibility of a transfer. After making the final selection at Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, several of his colleagues in the break showed their appreciation for his performance.
"I wouldn't find [riding for another rider] terrible. [Nick] Nuyens and [Stijn] Devolder also race up there beside Tom Boonen," said Leukemans, according to Sporza. "As a matter of fact, those riders sent me an SMS on Sunday, saying, 'Thank you for your work [today]'. That means a lot to me."
Leukemans will race on Wednesday's Brabantse Pijl in preparation for the final race of his 2010 Classics campaign, Amstel Gold Race. With the promise of International Cycling Union (UCI) ranking points on offer at Amstel, he said his focus will be on the Dutch race.
"I do not know whether I am recovered from Roubaix. But I am fit, I'll do Brabantse. Otherwise it is a workout for Sunday," he told Het Nieuwsblad. "I will be there for Amstel Gold Race. I would like to take extra points for the UCI-ranking and slip into the top ten."