By Anthony Tan
Pending his manager's signature, Nico Mattan will be DFL-Cyclingnews' highest-profile acquisition in the history of the team. "DFL-Cyclingnews.com seemed like the best choice to me," said the Davitamon-Lotto rider and winner of Gent-Wevelgem in 2005 to sporza.be. "I still want to do one more year."
Team manager Eric Vanderaerden, a former winner of Paris-Roubaix, added that Mattan may help the soon-to-be Pro Continental team gain a wildcard entry in the Ronde Van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), where he believes the 35 year-old can still finish in the top fifteen riders.
"I have not yet signed, but that is only one formality," said Mattan, who has already reached an oral agreement with Vanderaerden. "I had other offers, but this team was the best choice and I can choose my own program. The motivation is still there; I can impart [my knowledge] to the younger riders in the team."
Said Cyclingnews publisher Gerard Knapp, "The team management had been speaking with Nico for some time now, and we're delighted that agreement has been reached, even though the contract is still to be signed, but that's expected later in the week.
"It is a reflection of the interest in the team that the Belgian press were so keen to report on the next step in Mattan's career that they jumped the gun to some extent. But, it's a pretty big story for them, as the directeur-sportif of the team is Belgian cycling legend, Eric Vanderaerden, plus the team has been based in Belgium for years now.
"Even though it is a British-registered team, with riders from Australia, the UK, Belgium and other European countries, it has very strong ties to Belgian cycling, and a combination of a popular Belgian rider working with a Belgian cycling legend as his sporting director, should lead to good exposure in the European media."
With the transfer market closing this Friday, December 15, Vanderaerden said Mattan's manager will be coming from England this week to sign the contract. Vanderaerden also hopes to gain the signature of Finnish rider Jukka Vastaranta (ex-Rabobank) and possibly two Colombian riders.