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Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana) wins stage 1 of the Tour of Austria
Belgian Pro Continental team hoping to ride a Grand Tour
Kevin Seeldraeyers has signed a one-year contract with the Wanty-Gobert Group, with the Belgian Professional Continental squad hoping he will play a leadership role in the team and help secure a wild card invitation to a Grand Tour in 2014. The UCI confirmed the team has been given a Professional Continental licence in early November.
Seeldraeyers rode for Astana in 2013 and 2012 after four years at Omega Pharma. He won two stages at the Tour of Austria but was not selected for any of the three Grand Tours and subsequently struggled to find a place in a WorldTour team. In 2009 he was the best young rider at the Giro d’Italia.
"We will build a core around Kevin Seeldraeyers," said team manager Jean–François Bourlart.
"Laurens De Vreese can be useful in this sense. He is a perfect reinforcement for the finale of the Ardennes Classics. With Kevin Seeldraeyers we’ll have more of a Belgian feel to the team. Nico Sijmens, Björn Leukemans, Veuchelen Frederick and Jan Ghyselinck have already signed up for next season. We have 19 riders under contract so far.”
The Wanty-Gobert Group team has risen from the ashes of the Accent Jobs-Wanty team, with Vacansoleil-DCM sports director Hilaire Vanderschueren bringing sponsors to the team and Groupe Gobert joining as new co-sponsor.
The team will hold its first get together next week as they work on plans for the 2014 season.