Dutchman assured leadership role after good Tour de France
The Belkin team has announced that Laurens ten Dam will stay with the Netherlands based team for another two years. The lanky Dutchman finished thirteenth overall in the Tour de France, 21:39 behind Chris Froome (Team Sky) but impressed in the first part of the race, helping Bauke Mollema finish eighth overall. He finished eighth overall in last year's Vuelta a Espana and will target the Spanish Grand Tour this year alongside Mollema.
"In the last couple of years Laurens has proven he's a strong Grand Tour rider," directeur sportif Nico Verhoeven said in the team announcement.
"In the Tour, we allowed Laurens to ride for himself. He did very well despite the pressure. In the future, Laurens will have a free role more often in Grand Tours. In the Vuelta this year, he will lead Belkin together with Bauke Mollema. We have great confidence in Laurens."
Ten Dam was linked to a possible move to Team Sky just after the Tour de France but 32 year-old opted to stay with Belkin.
"I'm very happy to be part of this team, working with superb teammates and sports directors. I have really improved here as rider. I'm happy with the opportunities I have and continue to receive.
"Honestly, I couldn't find any reason to leave. With this contract, I can ride at the highest level for two more years. Grand Tours are what I do best, and I'll keep focusing myself on those races."
Ten Dam is Belkin's first major signing for 2014 as it continues to rebuild after securing sponsorship from the US cable and accessories company. Mark Renshaw has already confirmed he will ride with Mark Cavendish at Omega Pharma QuickStep in 2014, while Tom-Jelte Slagter has signed with Garmin-Sharp.
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