Devenyns, Keisse, Schmidt extend contracts, Wynants confirms retirement

Deceuninck-Quick-Step and Israel Start-Up Nation renew deals, 38-year-old Wynants to retire after Roubaix 2021.

While the bike racing season may be in a temporary lull due to the coronavirus crisis, there has been no shortage of contract extensions at the WorldTour level.

Deceuninck-Quick-Step  confirmed the extension of two senior riders Dries Devenyns and Iljo Keisse by one year, while the Israel Start-Up Nation extended 26-year-old Danish rider Mads Würtz Schmidt’s contract by two years.

The contract extensions of Devenyns, 36, and Keisse, 37, comes on the heels of the team’s re-signing of classics specialist Yves Lampaert, and shores up three of the Belgian squads most experienced riders.

“Dries has done amazing things before the lockdown”, said team manager Patrick Lefevere. “Think of his fantastic win in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. And Iljo continues to execute his role flawlessly. They have both proven their services to the team on countless occasions. Being well over 30, they may not be racing for five more years. But we know very well what we can expect of them and what they add to the team. Take it as a clear vote of our confidence.”

Mads Würtz Schmidt won the under-23 title in the individual time trial at the 2015 worlds. Photo: Tim De Waele / Getty

Meanwhile, Mads Würtz Schmidt, who joined Israel Start-Up Nation last year via the merger of the Katusha-Alpecin team, is more than pleased to continue through 2022 with one of the sport’s fastest-growing teams.

“During the first training camp in Mallorca, I realized that I had joined a super-professional team. How everyone worked together convinced me that I was in the right team,” the Dane said. “My goal is to win a classic with this team and to perform well in the one-day races and the short stage races.”

But while the Dane is just hitting the heart of his career, Maarten Wynants, at 38 the oldest active Belgian professional, confirmed that he will retire at the finish line of Paris-Roubaix in 2021. Wynants, a classics specialist riding for Team Jumbo Visma, said of his final race, “I want to lead Wout van Aert or a teammate to victory.” Wynants will then get into a team car and then shift into a sports director role.