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Van Aert, Devolder head dual teams in merged Crelan and Veranda's Willems squads

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Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice)

Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Stijn Devolder is pumped with his 2008 Flanders victory

Stijn Devolder is pumped with his 2008 Flanders victory
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Timothy Dupont (Veranda's Willems)

Timothy Dupont (Veranda's Willems)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Stan Godrie (Rabobank-Giant Off-road Team) celebrates his victory in Middelkerke.

Stan Godrie (Rabobank-Giant Off-road Team) celebrates his victory in Middelkerke.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Tim Merlier (BEL) running Mt. Krumpit during the second lap

Tim Merlier (BEL) running Mt. Krumpit during the second lap
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)

Nick Nuyens launched his new cycling project today via press release: the Belgian team merges the Continental squad Crelan-Vastgoedservice of 'cross world champion Wout Van Aert, and Veranda's Willems into dual units racing year-round in road and cyclo-cross.

The Belgian squad is aiming to compete at the Pro Continental level in 2017, although it was not announced in the preliminary list of second tier applicants by the UCI last month.

Nuyens said in a press release that Van Aert and his fellow specialists Tim Merlier, Stan Godrie and Jappe Jespers will continue to focus on cyclo-cross under former world champion Niels Albert.

"Niels Albert will help our riders daily with his expertise," Nuyens said. "The focus of Van Aert remains in cyclo-cross. The Pro Continental status of the team only provides Van Aert the ability to test his limits on the road, even in the top classics. But a switch to the road is absolutely not in discussion."

The road team has brought on Classics-specialist Stijn Devolder for 2017, a two-time winner of the Tour of Flanders, to help elevate the squad that also includes Timothy Dupont, Gaëtan Bille and Dries De Bondt, Sander Cordeel, Christophe Prémont, Aidis Kruopis, Stef Van Zummeren, Elias Van Breussegem, Huub Duyn, Otto Vergaerde and neo-pro Michael Goolaerts.

"It is a unique project, because we are the only team in professional cycling that can be active at the highest level for the whole year round," Nuyens said. "Unique also in that we will race with two different outfits."