Reports yesterday said that Bakelants had already signed a two-year deal with the French team, but the team denied that was the case. “As the team manager Vincent Lavenu is at the Vuelta the negotiations haven’t progressed,” Bakelants told Het Nieuwsblad. “There should be an agreement in the next days and it would certainly be for two seasons.”
Bakelants signed for Omega Pharma-QuickStep at the beginning of this season when he was left without a team after Fernando Alonso’s failed attempt to take over the Euskaltel team. It had been a tense time for Bakelants, who was fighting it out for the final spot in the team with Thomas de Gendt. Bakelants won out, although De Gendt went on to get a contract with the team – at a reduced salary.
After such a stressful winter in 2013, Bakelants is relived to have secured the deal. “In these difficult times, with the disappearances of a number of teams, it is better to have certainty as a rider. Fortunately, AG2R-La Mondiale is also an advocate of a two-year contract.”
Bakelants is currently racing at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes, where his teammate Mark Cavendish won the first two stages. The final stage today is a 191-kilometre ride from Lezay to Poitiers.
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