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Houanard extends with Skil-Shimano

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Steve Houanard (Skil-Shimano) appeared deep in thought before the start.

Steve Houanard (Skil-Shimano) appeared deep in thought before the start.
(Image credit: Bert Geerts/dcp-bertgeerts@xs4all.nl)
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Steve Houanard (Skill-Shimano) right after the finish of today's wet stage.

Steve Houanard (Skill-Shimano) right after the finish of today's wet stage.
(Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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Skil-Shimano's Steve Houanard, Thierry Hupond and Yann Huguet.

Skil-Shimano's Steve Houanard, Thierry Hupond and Yann Huguet.
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)

Steve Houanard has signed a two-year contract extension with Skil-Shimano that will keep him in their line-up until the end of the 2012 season. The 24-year-old Frenchman is in his second season with the Dutch-based squad.

Chambery-born Houanard first signed for Skil-Shimano as a stagiare in late 2008, and impressed sufficiently at the Circuit Franco-Belge to be offered a full contract. His best result in his first full season in the professional ranks in 2009 was 10th overall at the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen.

This season Houanard has used his fast finish to good effect, placing in the top ten on four stages of the Bayern Rundfahrt and the Tour of Luxembourg, and he was also one of the principal aggressors at the Dwars Door Vlaanderen in March.

In recent weeks, Skil-Shimano have also signed Tom Veelers to a new two-year deal and announced the arrival of young French hope Thomas Damuseau as a stagiare from August 1.