Legendary Belgian sprinter and hardman of the 1980's peloton, Eric Vanderaerden, will take up his new post as directeur sportif of the DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed squad this week as he travels with the team to the UK for the Tour of Britain.
The 44 year-old from Lummen, Belgium, brings with him a fabulous record as a rider where he won the Tour of Flanders in 1985, Paris-Roubaix in 1987, a Belgian Championship in 1984, the Tour's green jersey and won the prologue in both the Vuelta a España and the Tour de France in his debut year of 1983.
After his retirement from racing in 1990's, Vanderaerden took up a job as directeur sportif at the Italian Mapei squad, who in that decade were the undisputed kings of the classics. Vanderaerden used his tactical knowledge and leadership to guide many of the great riders of the era to victory including Michele Bartoli and Adriano Baffi.
"Eric is a legendary rider and his addition to the squad is a huge step forward for us," said DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed performance director Gilbert de Weerdt. "He knows exactly where a rider has to be at the right time and knows exactly how to get the best from his riders on and off the bike."
Team owner Nick Collins was also delighted to see the Belgian onboard. "Eric brings us a new dimension. He is a rider of the modern generation who can help us make the step up to the next level. We had several discussions throughout the spring and I'm delighted that Eric is able to join us earlier than expected and take up his new post in time for the Tour of Britain," Collins commented.
Collins has good reason to be happy as the team prepares for the trip to the UK and what it considers to be it's home race. In 2005, the team finished with Yanto Barker inside the top 10 as the leading British rider and is focused on showing that once again they can mix it with a quality field.