Avermaet ready to re-up, brings D'Hollander to Lotto

Greg Van Avermaet is ready to extend his contract with team Predictor-Lotto through the 2010 season. He has also convinced the team to sign his brother-in-law, Glenn D'Hollander. However, the team's sponsorship contracts expire in 2008, and no final decision has yet been reached as to whether they will be extended.

Van Avermaet, 22, has a contract for the coming year with the team, but decided to extend it early. "At this moment I have a good feeling. That is what counts," he told the Gazet van Antwerpen. He was pleased that the team has signed D'Hollander at his request, saying, "That is great proof of the confidence they have in me." This was his first pro season, and he had five wins, including stage wins in the Tour of Qatar and the Tour de Wallonie.

D'Hollander, 33, signed for one year and takes the place of Chris Horner. D'Hollander turned pro in 1996 with Vlaanderen 2002, and joined Lotto in 2000. In 2005 he rode for Landbouwkrediet before joining Chocolade Jacques for two years.

Meanwhile, the team shouldn't have to worry about its title sponsors. Marc Coucke, head of Omega Pharma has said that the company wants to continue its sponsorship. "We are still working out a plan," he told Sporza. "The situation looks better now than it did six months ago. The board of directors at Omega must still approve the plan. That applies for Lotto, too," he noted. For this reason, Van Avermaet has not yet signed the extended contract - nor has anyone else. "There is nothing on paper," Coucke said. "But we have a sort of 'option' so that we don't lose the rider when the season ends."

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