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Lotto-Belisol announced a pair of contract updates before the start of Friday’s stage 13 at the Tour de France.
Bart De Clercq, an all-around rider that has been with the squad since 2011, re-signed and will be a member of the team through 2015. Greg Henderson, the main leadout man for sprinter Andre Greipel, will also stay with the team for the next two seasons.
The 26-year-old De Clercq won a stage at the 2011 Giro d’Italia to make his presence known in the peloton. At last year’s Vuelta a Espana, the Belgian placed 17th overall.
This season, De Clercq has three top-10 results: fifth at Vuelta a Andalucía, seventh at Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana, and ninth at Tour de San Luis. He’s currently 82nd in the GC at the Tour de France, 1:03:31 behind race leader Chris Froome (Sky).
“Bart De Clercq is a rider we definitely wanted to have in our team for the next years,” team manager Marc Sergeant said in a press release. “In his first year as pro he won a Giro stage and both in Giro and Vuelta he’s proven to be a good climber. Also in this Tour he’s an ideal team player: In the mountain stage to Bagnères-de-Bigorre he showed his capacities, but he has also ridden many kilometers at the head of the peloton in support of André Greipel.”
Said De Clercq: “I’m satisfied with my program. I hope to become stronger the next two years and I’d love to take another victory. I’ll already pursue that goal in the rest of this Tour. ”
As for the 36-year-old Henderson, who has been in the pro ranks since 2002, his job as Greipel’s top lieutenant is one of the most important roles on the team. Greipel won stage 6 at this year’s Tour de France and is third in the race for the green jersey with 195 points. Peter Sagan (307) and Mark Cavendish (211) are ahead of him.
“The sprint train is teamwork and we want to keep that core train together, I’m happy that I can stay part of it for the next couple of years,” Henderson said. “I’m really dedicated to that job as final leadout man; I’ve put a lot of time, effort and thought into it.”