Jurgen Van den Broeck has re-signed with Silence-Lotto and will remain with the team until the end of 2011. The 26-year-old told the Gazet van Antwerpen that with the departure of Cadel Evans for BMC he was confident he can now assume a leadership role within the team.
Van den Broeck finished 15th overall at the 2009 Tour de France, 15 places higher than the team's designated leader, Evans. The Belgian's performance in France was enough for his team, which will be known as Omega Pharma-Lotto in 2010, to replace his current contract with the new, more lucrative deal.
"I think my performance in the Tour has proven that I can handle the pressure, even when I was racing in Evans' shadow," he said. "It will require me to take more responsibility and entail more stress, but I'll be 27 soon; it's an appropriate age to take the leadership."
Regarded as one of Belgium's best stage-race hopes, Van den Broeck's result at the Tour de France this season has served as confirmation of his Grand Tour ability. He recorded a 7th place finish overall at the 2008 Giro d'Italia and has had top-ten classification results at the Tours of Benelux and Denmark.
A professional since 2003, Van den Broeck began his career at Quick Step, before three seasons with Discovery Channel. He has ridden with Silence-Lotto since 2007, where he says he is now ready to move his career to the next level.
"I feel at home with the team," said Van den Broeck. "They give me the necessary freedom in my preparation. I didn't hesitate in accepting the new proposal put forward to me by the team."
Van den Broeck looks likely to divide leadership responsibilities with Dani Moreno, who was signed by the team from Caisse d'Epargne to support Cadel Evans' objectives. The Spaniard last week expressed his expectation that the departure of the Australian would allow him to assume a more senior role within the squad.
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