LottoNL-Jumbo has rewarded Vuelta a Espana stage winner Bert-Jan Lindeman with a contract renewal and extension that will see the Dutchman remain with the team until the conclusion of the 2017 season.
"I'm very pleased with my new contract," said Lindeman who also enjoyed a stint in the Giro d'Italia's KOM jersey. "I want to keep showing what I can achieve at the highest level of cycling, as I did this year in Spain and Italy."
Lindeman spent three season with Vacansoleil - DCM before the Dutch team folded at the end of 2013 and he moved to the Rabobank Development team last season and has proved a worthy addition to Lotto-NL-Jumbo across the season.
"I was immediately appreciated and instantly felt confidence from the group and the staff. Over the next few seasons, I mainly want to improve my climbing. I now have two years to methodically improve and optimise myself as a rider. That's great," he said.
Sport director Nico Verhoeven explained the team was always looking to lock in Lindeman for more than his initial one-year contract and his pleased to have secured his services for the next two seasons.
"Of course we are all already looking forward to the future, which involves Bert-Jan. He has developed well in his first year with the team. Therefore, we really wanted to keep him in our team," Verhoeven said. "Bert-Jan has proved his value to the team in every race he rode. He's an all-rounder, but particularly strong in the mountains. He did not win a mountain stage in the Vuelta by chance. Besides that, he was always there when he needed to support the leaders. Bert-Jan is simply very valuable to our team."
Bet-Jan Lindeman celebrates his Vuelta a Espana stage win (Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Sondre Holst Enger wants to make a mark on Paris-Tour
Norwegian neo-pro Sondre Holst Enger is aiming to finish off his 2015 with an aggressive showing at Paris-Tours this weekend. The IAM Cycling rider won a stage at the Tour of Austria and has several top-ten finishes to his name this season but wants to cap off his first full season in the professional peloton with a result in the French race.
"I have raced in the Paris-Tours only once, but despite my limited experience in the race, I remember the route pretty well," said Enger who ride the race as a stagiaire with IAM Cycling last season. "It is not as easy as it seems. Although all the roads that we race are relatively flat, there are a few climbs that come in the last kilometers and can make the difference. It is essential to eliminate the sprinters less comfortable with these sorts of challenges, especially since it's all after more than 230 kilometres of racing.
"If I can go there with the same condition I had this past week at the Eurometropole Tour, then this is an event that very well could suit me. I appreciate the fact that there are some harder bits in the race. Anyway, I know the team will do everything it can so that one of us will be in a position to try and win. But before thinking about a victory, we must act like a team, ride as a compact unit, and be together for the entire race. Once we can accomplish that, then we will be in a position to decide which card we will want to play.
Enger added that with several sprinters also selected in IAM Cycling's roster for the race a team performance takes precedence over a personal result. A fact he is comfortable with but will nevertheless attempt to feature at the pointy end of the race.
"With guys like Heinrich Haussler, Jonas Van Genechten, as well as Roger Kluge and myself, we will have a lot of options to finish fast. I don't yet know what tactics IAM Cycling will adopt, but we will certainly be aggressive," he said. "Whether it is to help my teammates or try my own chances, I want to be present at the finale. I have had a pretty complicated year physically. My season has been punctuated by a lot of injuries. But I still managed to win my first professional victory at the Tour of Austria. So it is very important for me to finish on a good note. A win would of course be the perfect way to put an end to this 2015 season. But I am not the only one in the peloton with that ambition. Of that I am certain."
IAM Cycling for Paris - Tours: Heinrich Haussler, Reto Hollenstein, Roger Kluge, Sondre Holst Enger, Jarlinson Pantano, Dries Devenyns, Marcel Aregger and Jonas Van Genechten.
Lotto Soudal extend with Broeckx and De Bie
Lotto Soudal have announced it has extended the contracts for two of its young Belgian talents, 24-year-old Sean De Bie and 25-year-old Stig Broeckx.
"Over the past two years both riders have gained a fix spot in our core team although their path concurring," team manager Marc Sergeant said. "Stig made a name for himself in his first Tour of Flanders, but that led to high expectations. During the past season, he noticed that making constant progress is anything but easy. But Stig is strong and showed that he's the perfect teammate. For me it was a logical decision that he stays put and continues his career with Lotto Soudal.
Sergeant added that after a challenging first season, De Bie has shown his capabilities on the big stage as a second year professional.
"Sean had a difficult first year. He made the step to the professionals with a hallmark of "big talent" and that wasn't easy," Sergeant said. "After the first half of the season, he found his place in the team and from that moment on, things started going better. First, he was valuable for the team but this year we saw that Sean also can ride finals. We are giving Sean the opportunity to continue developing in our team."
De Bie had breakthrough year as he won a stage at the Tour of Luxembourg and the late-season one-day Primus Classic Impanis - Van Petegem race which has given him confidence for his 2016 goals as he explained.
"My first year as a professional wasn't good. I couldn't find the good feeling on my bike which resulted in bad performances. Since the beginning of this season, I've rediscovered the joy of racing and things are going good again. I take most pride in my Tour of Flanders selection. In our team, it isn't easy to get a spot in this selection. Thanks to my fifth place in the Three Days of De Panne-Koksijde, I could enforce my selection. Also the way I was able to win GP Impanis was fantastic," De Bie said. "Next year, I hope to keep my level constant throughout the season. The Tour of Flanders remains one of my main goals in 2016. If everything goes well next year, I will participate for the first time in a Grand Tour. These perspectives give me enough motivation to give 100 percent this winter."
For Broeckx the highlight of the 2015 season was making his grand tour debut at the Giro d'Italia which he believes will be crucial to his development as a rider as he eyes off the spring classics next year.
"In general, I'm pretty happy with my season," he said. "I rode my first Grand Tour and it was a nice experience. Apparently, my body is able to cope with such a Tour as my results became better and better towards the end. I needed the Giro to take a next step in my development as a rider. During The past two years, I've gathered a lot of experience and I had to pay a tuition fee. I've learned some new things about racing as well as about training methods, that definitely will be useful in the next races. With this contract extension, I get two more years to prove and develop myself. Especially the Spring Classics suit me well. Next year, I will try to show my capabilities in these races."
Sean De Bie celebrates his Tour of Luxembourg stage win (Serge Waldbillig/ Luxemburger Wort Photographe)
Astana to sign Ivan Santaromita?
Ivan Santaromita has announced he is leaving Orica-GreenEdge after two seasons with the Australian team but is yet to find a team for 2016 although former Liquigas teammate Vincenzo Nibali is keen on on adding him to Astana's roster.
"Vincenzo told me clearly that he would like me to join him. There has always been mutual respect between us," Santaromita reportedly told La Provincia di Varese. "That doesn't mean that there is a deal. But I can not deny that there are real possibilities: until there is certainty, I will not say anything."
The Italian has just 41 racing days in his legs this season and told Cyclingnews in August that a lack of grand tours in the last two years is partly behind his decision to change teams at the end of the season.
Astana are yet to announce any signings for the 2016 season while Rein Taaramäe (Katusha), Mikel Landa (Sky) and Borut Bozic (Cofidis) have all departed for pastures anew.
Cult-Energy announce new signing
Cult Energy-Stölting Group have announced a further addition to its 2016 roster with Thomas Koep confirmed on a two-year deal. The German neo-pro has spent the last four seasons with Team Stölting, who are merging with Cult Energy from next season, at Continental level is looking forward to becoming a full time cyclist.
"I have been riding for Stölting for four years and just recently successfully completed my studies. So now I am very excited about taking the step up to Pro Continental level to perform and to pursue new challenges with Cult Energy-Stölting Group," said Koep.
The team's sport director Jochen Hahn explained that Koep has impressed during his time with Stölting and believes the 25-year-old will make a successful transition to Pro-Continental life.
"After working tirelessly and loyally during the last 4 years with the Stölting team, he deserves taking the step up to full-time professionalism. He's always 100% committed to the team, always focuses on creating a good atmosphere and he's able to support his teammates in the flat as well as in the hilly terrain. I'm very pleased that he is in the team next year," Hahn said
Koep follows Mads Pedersen, Linus Gerdemann, Rasmus Guldhammer, Lennard Kämna, Rasmus Quaade, Sven Reutter and Alexander Kamp in signing for the team from next season.