Van den Broeck to shadow Rodriguez at Team Katusha

Jurgen Van den Broeck has been given a new lease of life with his move from Lotto Soudal to Team Katusha.

The rider dropped down the pecking order at his former Belgian team after a number of disappointing seasons but the 32-year-old revealed that his new employers had given him fresh confidence.

"I am extremely pleased. I'm really looking forward to it. Team manager José Azevedo is convinced that I have not lost any of my qualities. It is pleasing that this team has so much confidence in me,” Van den Broeck told Het Nieuwsblad at the Katusha presentation on Saturday in Calpe, Spain.

Van den Broeck was herladed as Belgian’s most promising stage race rider when he finished in the top ten at the Giro d’Italia in 2008. He backed that up with 15th at the Tour de France the following season after his teammate and then team leader, Cadel Evans, cracked in the mountains.

The Belgian has twice finished in the top four of the Tour de France (2010 and 2012) but has struggled for consistency. He has abandoned five of the last nine Grand Tours he has started and finished 15th in this year’s Giro d’Italia. In recent years Lotto Soudal have built a team around younger riders and placed more emphasis on Andre Greipel’s sprint train.

In 2016, however, Van den Broeck will race a similar programme to his new team leader, Joaquim Rodriguez. The Tour de France and the Vuelta will be two major obejctives with the Belgian also lining up in the Ardennes classics alongside Rodriguez.

"I’ll largely have the same programme of Joaquim Rodriguez. The first appointments are the Ardennes where 'Purito' is the leader but I can play my role in relation to him. After the Tour I ride the Vuelta, also with him."

Het Nieuwsblad also confirms that Van den Broeck will make his Team Katusha debut at the Tour of Oman in February. He will race alongside Rodriguez for the first time at Tirreno-Adriatico in March.

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