The 31-year-old Belgian still had a contract until the end of 2019, but the team decided to adjust the deal and add one more year. The contract extension is a sign of appreciation for the performances of De Gendt during the past few years, the team said in the statement.
"I still had a contract till the end of next year, but both the team and I were interested in extending the contract. That way, I don't have to worry about getting a new contract at Lotto Soudal or at another team next year. Having the certainty till the end of 2020 gives me some peace of mind," De Gendt said.
"I feel good within the team. Lotto Soudal gives me the freedom to race the way I want and they also encourage my style of racing. So, it really wasn't a difficult decision to sign for an additional year. I wasn’t thinking of changing teams, the only thing I was worried about was whether adjusting my contract would be possible.”
Since he joined Lotto Soudal in 2015, De Gendt secured six victories and forced numerous breakaway attempts. In recent years, he won a stage in the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España. This year, he earned a stage victory in the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour de Romandie.
"For sure, I want to keep racing the way I did the last three years. That style of racing resulted in two victories in both 2016 and 2017. This year, I already won twice. I have always raced offensively and I gave the team a lot of screen time," he said.
"I still want to maintain my current level of performance for at least five years, which can only be achieved through hard work. In the next few years, I still want to grant myself a few opportunities to go for some victories. If I could accomplish that goal, I would be very happy."
B-sample confirms Di Gregorio EPO positive
According to L'Equipe, the B-sample analysis for Frenchman Rémy Di Gregorio (Delko Marseille Provence-KTM) confirmed the presence of EPO.
Di Gregorio was tested on March 8 at Paris-Nice, and the initial analysis showed evidence of darbepoetin, a first-generation recombinant erythropoeitin that is readily detected in urine samples.
According to his lawyer, Jean-Jacques Bertrand, Di Gregorio still denies the result. The 32-year-old faces a possible four-year suspension for a first doping positive.
Di Gregorio was caught up in a doping raid when riding for Cofidis in 2012, but the substances seized by the authorities turned out to be vitamins and a kit to inject glucose. He was dismissed by his team over the affair but successfully sued them for wrongful termination.
Di Gregorio has not yet been added to the UCI's list of sanctioned athletes.
Bakelants marks return to racing with top 10
Belgian Jan Bakelants made a successful return to racing at the Sint-Elooisprijs in Ruddervoorde, placing 9th in the kermesse on Wednesday. The race was won by Tim Merlier (Willems Verandas-Crelan).
The AG2R La Mondiale rider plunged into a ravine after crashing on the descent of the Sormano in Il Lombardia last October and fractured four vertebrae. He made a brief re-start to racing in March, racing the Classic Loire Atlantique, Tour of the Basque Country and Amstel Gold Race, but dropped out of Flèche Wallonne.
He had a second procedure to remove the hardware from his spine soon after, posting a photo of the metal bits on his Twitter page.
The kermesse hopefully marks the end to his rehabilitation from the dramatic crash.
CRESCENDO available now!
The third week of the 2018 Giro d'Italia was one of the most memorable Grand Tour finale in recent years, and Cyclingnews Films takes you behind the scenes of the dramatic conclusion to the race.
Hear from overall winner Chris Froome, Tom Dumoulin and Domenico Pozzovivo and the up-and-coming Australian Ben O'Connor.
The film also features Grand Tour record holder Adam Hansen, breakthrough sprinter Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), Gianni Savio, Max Sciandri and more.
The documentary is available to download to rent on Vimeo (opens in new tab) ($2.99 USD) or to purchase ($5.99 USD) from Vimeo on Demand. You can also watch the trailer below, with options to buy or rent at the end. Our first production, the HOLY WEEK (opens in new tab), which takes a look behind the scenes at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, is still available to download.
Cyclingnews Films' second production CRESCENDO is available to buy or rent on Vimeo (opens in new tab).
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