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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Monday, November 2, 2015

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

Louis Vervaeke extends contract with Lotto-Soudal

Here's the news from the team:

Louis Vervaeke has prolonged his current agreement with the team till 2017. The 21-year-old climber signed a pro contract with the team in July 2014 and this year he completed his first full season as a professional cyclist. In his début year, Louis got a lot of bad luck and crashes to deal with. With this contract extension, Lotto Soudal shows its confidence in his capacities as a rider.

Louis Vervaeke

Louis Vervaeke. Belga image

Louis Vervaeke: “I’m very happy that the team took the initiative to lay my current contract on the table, which ends in 2016, and to prolong it till 2017. It’s a sign of confidence and this gives me extra motivation to start the winter period. I would have liked to have another kind of début year. Due to crashes and bad luck, I couldn’t start the races in an optimal condition. Personally, this was very difficult because I like to perform well in every race. In total, I crashed seven times, one crash more severe than the other. During my first stage race of the season, Ruta Del Sol, I was involved in the massive crash during the first stage. I had a concussion and had to put a stop to my training for some time. In the next stage race, Volta a Catalunya, a new crash forced me to withdraw the race.”

“Mentally, it isn’t easy to process all these misfortunes. Due to the crashes, I couldn’t build up to a certain period as I wanted. During the whole season, I had to search for the good shape and also in my first Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia, it didn’t go as I wanted. Because of my failed spring period, I started the Giro without the desired shape and that was frustrating. In my U23 period, I proved that the stage races suit me perfectly. Due to the fact that my condition wasn’t optimal, I couldn’t show my skills and because of this, the Giro was a long martyrdom. When I became ill during the sixteenth stage, I had to withdraw, unfortunately.”

“This year was very instructive mentally and I also learnt a lot about racing with the pros. I got to know my limits and learnt things that could help me in the future. Also the acquaintance with the pro peloton and the team staff went fluently. My contract extension is an example of how the team has confidence and believes in my capacities. Next year, my focus will go to the stage races and less to the Ardennes classics. We still need to discuss the details of my program, but it is certain that my future lies in the stage races. If the bad luck stays away next season, then I hope to show what I’m really capable of.”

Rolf Aldag leaves Etixx-Quick Step to coach MTN-Qhubeka

Rolf Aldag will leave his post as a coach at Etixx-Quick Step, effective immediately, to join MTN-Qhubeka, which will become known as Team Dimension Data in 2016.

Aldag will join sprinter Mark Cavendish, who has already signed to race for the team in 2016. Aldag worked at Etixx-Quick Step for three years and coached Cavendish there.

Aldag was a good pro racer in the 1990s and early 2000s. He has admitted to taking EPO during his racing career.

Pieter Serry has bad crash

Pieter Serry suffered a bad fall at a mountain bike event in Aalter (between Bruges and Ghent), Belgium, on Sunday.

The Etixx-Quick Step rider was taken to a hospital where he was found to have suffered a fractured skull, a few scratches and a broken tooth. So far, none of these injuries will require surgery.

Hitting a hole, Serry lost control of his bike. Destabilized, he fell and his face hit the ground. Doctors at the clinic in Sint-Andries Tielt announced that an operation was not mandatory, but Serry has to wear a neck brace for six weeks and cannot ride a bike.

Get well soon, Pieter.

Pieter Serry

Pieter Serry at the 2014 World Championships

"I've had a lot of bad luck. I was driving on a straight gravel road and suddenly I came across a hole”, Serry said. "This is not my first fall of the season, but the first for which I am responsible. It is sad. On previous crashes, I had been in the wrong place at the wrong time."

In late March, Serry broke his collarbone in the Tour of Catalonia. It healed in time for the Giro, but he had to give up after a fall caused by a spectator during the first stage. Finally, on September 16 at the GP de Wallonie, he again found himself on the asphalt, shattering his left elbow.

Kris Boeckmans back on his bike

Great news! Two months after his horrific crash in the Tour of Spain, Kris Boeckmans (28) aired up his bike tires. Under a late summer sun, the sprinter from Lotto-Soudal went on a training ride.

Kris Boeckmans winning a stage in the World Ports CLassic

Kris Boeckmans winning a stage in this year's World Ports Classic

Filippo Pozzato to sign with Southeast

La Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting that Lampre-Merida rider Filippo Pozzato will ride for Southeast next season. Team manager Angelo Citracca says Pozzato and the team have reached a "gentlemen's agreement".

La Gazzetta says it’s a done deal between Pozzato and Citracca is a fact and only awaits a signature on paper. Citracca says, "There is a gentleman's agreement. The announcement will be made when we have signed."

Filippo Pozzato

Filippo Pozzato

Thirty-four year old Pozzato, 34, spent three seasons at Lampre-Merida. He was a prolific race winner, but his last victory was in 2013.

Among Pozzato’s victories are the 2003 Tirreno-Adriatico, 2006 Milan-San Remo, 2007 Het Volk, the 2009 E3 as well as stages in the Tour and the Giro.

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary