News shorts: Henderson and Jelle Vanendert extend with Lotto Soudal

Van Asbroeck close to first win, BMC name Japan Cup squad

Lotto Soudal have confirmed Greg Henderson and Jelle Vanendert have extended their contracts with the team for the 2016 season. Henderson, 38, has been the Belgian outfit since 2012 and has been a key component in the lead out train of Andre Greipel. Henderson crashed out of the Tour de France on stage 3 this year, making his return to racing at the Eneco Tour in August.

"For me, it isn’t a surprise that I am still in the peloton on my fortieth birthday, even if I will be an exception in the team," Henderson said. "The main factor is motivation, I’m still very motivated to be ready when I need to be in top shape. Due to my crash in the third stage during the recent Tour de France, I couldn’t play the role I wanted. After Hamburg, I went on an altitude training camp in Colorado together with my family to prepare myself for the World Championships team time trial. We really focussed on it, with a seventh place as result. I will try to be in the best possible shape when I’m in competition to share my experience with the other riders. 2015 was a nice season, but I hope that we can do the same next year."

Vanendert, a Tour de France stage winner, has been a key rider at the Ardennes Classics for the team since joining in 2009. The 30-year-old's best result of the season was fifth at the GP de Wallonie in a season down on past performances. Vanendert thanked the team for showing belief in his abilities and recognised his past feats.

"Of course I’m happy to stay with Lotto Soudal. I feel comfortable in this team, otherwise I wouldn’t stay. It’s true that the contract extension lasted a bit longer than usual, but nowadays teams wait longer and longer before extending the current contracts," Vanendert said. "It’s a trend from the past years because some teams stopped and there was an oversupply of riders. Then it becomes a problem when you don’t perform as well as expected. I think I already proved what I’m capable of in the past seven years with this team; on the other hand, some years were defined with bad luck. And 2015 was such a year. But I’m not ready yet with cycling and will be motivated to be at my best again in 2016."

Van Asbroeck second again at Nationale Sluitingprijs - Putte-Kapellen

For the second year running, Tom Van Asbroeck has ended his season with a narrow second place at the 1.1 Nationale Sluitingprijs - Putte-Kapellen. The LottoNL-Jumbo sprinter was awarded second place in a photo finish with Nacer Bouhanni taking the win.

"Maybe it looked like a close call, but I immediately felt that I was second," said Van Asbroeck. "Again I was not far away, but I got a bit hampered in the sprint. That might have cost me the victory. All in all, it was a bit of an unlucky season for me. I crashed a lot and wasn’t always fully fit, but in recent weeks, after the Vuelta, things went better and better." 

Van Asbroeck had finished inside the top-ten in eight of the last 12 one-day races that he had finished including two second place finishes at  GP de Fourmies and Grote Prijs Jef Scherens prior to Nationale Sluitingprijs. With a strong finish to the season, the 25-year-old believes he can add to his two professional victories early next year.

"Next year, if I manage to stay upright and we continue to work hard with the sprint train, I’m confident that that first victory will come," he said.

BMC Racing's Japan Cup team announced

Peter Stetina will pull on his BMC Racing team kit for one final at the Japan Cup as he and the American team call and end to the 2015 season. The American has just 31 race days in his legs this year after a stage 1 crash at the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco left him a broken kneecap and ribs. Stetina will be joined by Peter Velits, who led the Vuelta a Espana after stage 1 this year, Michael Schär and Manuel Senni. Neo-pro Floris Gets completes the roster as the 23-year-old makes his first appearance at a non-European race.

2015 is the third year in succession that BMC have notched over 30 wins as the team time trial champions currently have 33 wins to its name and will be searching for one final victory at the October 18 race.

 

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