One of Greg Van Avermaet's most-trusted Classics lieutenants, Nathan Van Hooydonck, has signed a contract extension with CCC Team, keeping the Belgian with the team until at least the end of the 2021 season.
The 23-year-old joined the WorldTour team's previous guise as BMC in May 2017, having graduated from the BMC Development Team programme, which he'd been part of since 2015.
When BMC became CCC Team for the 2019 season, Van Hooydonck continued his association with the Jim Ochowicz-run outfit, and has now been rewarded for his hard work and consistency – particularly as part of Van Avermaet's spring Classics line-up.
Although Van Avermaet was unable to replicate his successful season of two years ago, when he won Paris-Roubaix, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Gent-Wevelgem and the E3 Harelbeke, Van Hooydonck rode strongly in support of the Olympic road race champion at this year's Classics, helping his team leader to second place at Het Nieuwsblad, sixth spot at Strade Bianche, third at the E3 BinckBank Classic, a 10th-place finish at the Tour of Flanders and 12th at Paris-Roubaix.
"When Jim called me after Roubaix to tell me that the team wanted to extend my contract and asked me if I wanted to stay, I was really happy, and it was an easy decision to make. I feel appreciated in the team for the work I do, and with this contract extension, the team must see some potential in me, which is a huge confidence boost," said Van Hooydonck on his team's website.
"The main reason to stay with CCC Team is that it feels like home, and the riders around me in the Classics group are so experienced, so I'm in a great position to learn from them.
"This season, I already felt that I made a good step forward, and in the next seasons I want to continue that and be [up there] with Greg in the finals of the Classics. I would also like to go for my own results in the smaller races. That's my ambition, and I hope that in a few years I can be a leader in the bigger races, too," Van Hooydonck said.
"We are looking forward to helping Nathan develop further as a rider and we are excited to see what he can do," added team manager Ochowicz. "Nathan has been with the team for a while now, so it's easy to forget how young he is. At just 23 years old, Nathan has a long and bright career ahead of him and we believe CCC Team is a great fit for a rider of his calibre.
"Nathan's growth and development from the BMC Development Team days to where he is now has led us to believe he is a rider with big talent and a great future ahead of him. He has consistently proved himself as a valuable domestique to Greg during the Classics and is more than capable of going for his own result in these races," said Ochowicz.
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