Jelle Vanendert has broken his current contract and is on the verge of signing a new deal with Lotto-Belisol for 2014 and 2015, Gazet van Antwerpen reports. The 28-year old climber is happy to accept a smaller pay check in return for an extra year on the team after a difficlut 2013 season.
"That I will earn less, doesn't bother me. For me it's far more important to know I have a team for 2015. That weighs in heavier because it's not evident nowadays," he said.
Vanendert's career started with what is now Topsport Vlaanderen in 2006. He then joined the highest tiers of global cycling with Francaise des Jeux in 2008 and signed with Silence-Lotto in 2009. Vanendert's only professional victory came in 2011 when he finished solo in the Tour de France stage to Plateau de Beille.
In 2012 Vanendert finished second in the Amstel Gold Race but his 2013 season has been one without any notable results. He targeted the Ardennes Classics but couldn't repeat his podium finish of 2012. An intestinal parasite subsequently kept him out of the Tour de France team where he was supposed to be helping captain Jurgen van den Broeck in the mountains. In his only Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a España, he abandoned during the freezing cold 14th stage to Coll de la Gallina.
"2013 wasn't a good year due to medical reasons," Lotto-Belisol team manager Marc Sergeant told Gazet van Antwerpen. "The public expected a lot of Jelle. He was also paid accordingly but he is not a winning type of rider. Riders like Greipel can deal with the pressure but Jelle struggled. We still have full confidence in him and know what he is capable of. He was not happy with the situation [this season] and seeks revenge."
Sergeant adds that Vanendert has agreed to the new contract but he hasn't formally signed the deal for 2014 and 2015.
"One terrible season like this and my career could have ended," Vanendert said. "In offering me this new contract, the team shows they still believe in me. They know why I didn't have a good season. Lotto-Belisol offer me the chance to do what I do. I like being with this team," he concluded.
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