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“As of Monday, my future as a professional cyclist is uncertain. I had an agreement with Fernando Alonso’s team, formerly Euskaltel. I spoke with Kiko Garcia, the manager, and he really wanted me," Bakelants writes in Gazet...

Photo: Sirotti






25.09.2013 @ 12:41 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jan Bakelants and Thomas De Gendt are two of the most accomplished Belgian bike rider but they are still left without a team for the 2014 season. Both had been in contact with Fernando Alonso who planned to take over Euskaltel's license but following the breakdown of those negotiations, the pair is left with an insecure future.


The cycling market is a tough one this year with Vacansoleil, Sojasun and Euskaltel all folding and it has left several riders in desperate search for a new team. Two of those are Jan Bakelants and Thomas De Gendt who still haven't secured a contract for the coming season.


Bakelants has had his best-ever season with a stage win and a stint in the yellow jersey at the Tour de France being the highlight. He has been riding strong during the autumn as well and has earned himself a selection for the Belgian team for the world championships.


Nonetheless, he still hasn't found a team for next season. Actually, he thought that everything had fallen into place when he reached an agreement with the team that was to set up by Fernando Alonso on the ashes of Euskaltel. With the announcement that this project will come to nothing for 2014, his future is now up in the air.


“The sky has fallen on my head,” he wrote in a column carried by both the Gazet van Antwerpen and Het Belang van Limburg on Tuesday. “As of Monday, my future as a professional cyclist is uncertain. I had an agreement with Fernando Alonso’s team, formerly Euskaltel."


“I spoke with Kiko Garcia, the manager, and he really wanted me. The contracts were ready and should even have been signed here in Tuscany [at the world championships].”


He won't be part of the Trek team that will take over the license from his current Radioshack team.


“We made him a proposition before and after his victory at Ajaccio during the Tour,” Trek manager Luca Guercilena told Het Laatste Nieuws. “But the negotiations were difficult and we didn’t reach an agreement. It’s a pity. Jan is a good guy and I would love to have him in our team. Both parties will have to make efforts.”


Instead, Bakelants may join Omega Pharma-Quick Step. That team's manager Patrick Lefevre told Sporza last week that he expected Bakelants or Thomas De Gendt to be the final rider on his team. Like Bakelants, De Gendt whose future is uncertain due to the collapse of his current Vacansoleil team, had been in contact with Fernando Alonso's team but now finds himself with no team for 2014.


Following a less successful season, he expects Bakelants to take the last spot on Omega Pharma-Quick Step.


 "I wanted to go to Omega Pharma - QuickStep but I feel that Jan Bakelants which is in good shape, now has a better chance than me," he told Het Nieuwsblad. "At the same time, Lampre-Merida and the new team of Fernando Alonso have asked to see the data of my biological passport." The Belgian concluded by bitterly suggesting that  he is "punished for the loyalty to Vacansoleil-DCM."


Both riders are riding the world championships this week. While Bakelants will ride Sunday's road race, De Gendt rode the team time trial on Sunday and will ride the individual time trial today.



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