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"I want to confirm as soon as possible. And I am convinced that I will succeed in my mission," Bakelants tells Het Nieuwsblad

Photo: Sirotti

JAN BAKELANTS

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03.11.2013 @ 12:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Having long shown great promise, Jan Bakelants finally stepped into the spotlight on the biggest scene of them all when he won a stage and wore the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. Next year he hopes to confirm his potential in new surroundings at the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team.

 

Ever since he won the Tour de l'Avenir in 2008, Jan Bakelants has been regarded as a big talent but for some time, it has taken some time for him to reveal his potential in the pro ranks. Despite aggressive rides in the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana and a 6th place in the 2012 Tour Down Under, he failed to take the win that would mark his final breakthrough at the best level.

 

When he was finally able to raise his arms in celebration, it happened on the biggest scene of them all. Having made it into a late breakaway on the second stage of the Tour de France, he attacked on his own and managed to keep the peloton at bay to take both the stage win and the yellow jersey. He wore the coveted tunic for two days before relinquishing it in the team time trial but continued his aggressive showing throughout the remainder of the race.

 

In the second half of the season, he confirmed his potential by winning the GP de Wallonie and finishing 7th in the Tour of Beijing and 4th in the Eneco Tour. Having failed to reach an agreement with Trek that will take over the license from his current Radioshack team, he was one of the final riders to be signed by Omega Pharma-Quick Step for the 2014 season.

 

For Bakelants, the most important objective is to prove that his success was not a one-hit wonder.

 

"I want to confirm as soon as possible," he told Net Nieuwsblad. "And I am convinced that I will succeed in my mission."

 

Bakelants is an aggressive rider that thrives in hilly terrain. Unsurprisingly, he compares himself with a certain French national hero which he beat in a head-to-head battle at the GP de Wallonnie.

 

"I see myself a bit like Thomas Voeckler who is praised in  France but sometimes disregarded outside his home country. He is a rider that always gives everything. Like me, he is a rider that thrives in uncontrolled races.

 

"Voeckler and I are riders that can make a difference by virtue of our endurance," he added. "In certain terrains, we are fresher at the end after a war of attrition."

 

Bakelants ended his season in the Tour of Beijing but plans to start racing in 2014 as early as possible, in the Tour Down Under in January.

 

"I will do the same for Omega Pharma-Quick Step already in Australia," he said. "I am aware that I am lucky man in these difficult times."

 

Bakelants is one of several new Omega Pharma-Quick Step signings that also include Rigoberto Uran, Thomas De Gendt, Wout Poels, Mark Renshaw and neo-pros Petr Vakoc and Julian Alaphilippe.

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