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“There is a good atmosphere and they work well together, that was appealing to me. The prospect that every rider who has the legs gets his chances here was something to look forward to,” 

Photo: OPQS / Tim De Waele




05.02.2015 @ 15:52 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Having signed with AG2R-La Mondiale to get more freedom, Jan Bakelants is looking to put 2014 behind him and race aggressively and achieve big results this season for his new team.


As an aggressive rider, the teams attacking style and strength in numbers policy really appealed to the 29 year old Belgian, who joined fellow new signing and Belgian Johan van Summeren at the team.


“They have a good team atmosphere and if you look [at] how they rode in the Tour and how they worked together as a team, that certainly was appealing to me. The prospect that every rider who has the legs gets his chances here was something to look forward to,” Bakelants told VeloNews via phone interview during Monday’s team presentation festivities.


While he was good on the road for Omega Pharma-Quick Step in 2014, winning stage six of the Dauphine and helping Kwiatkowski in the Ardennes Classics, he had mononucleosis and then the flu, which ruined his offseason, and delayed his season debut to the Clasica de Almeria.


“After the [2014] world championships, it turned out I was ill. I had mononucleosis and this of course set me back for quite a bit of time. But at the moment, things are improving and I feel better again,” Bakelants said.


With his new freedom, he is targeting a strong ride in the Ardennes Classics and any other races he can get leadership in.


“The hilly classics in the Ardennes are nice goals which I’d say I can target now. In the past I was mostly riding as support for other riders on those occasions, but now I think I will get more of a chance, and I hope to do well in those races,” Bakelants said.


He is willing to work for others too, and he hopes to replicate the team success AG2R had in 2014, when they won the team prize in both the Giro and the Tour.


“In this team, team GCs are a really important thing, and last year Ag2r won the team GC in both the Giro and the Tour, and to win the team GC in the Tour again is a really important team objective,” Bakelants said, noting that he too hopes to do well in one of the grand tours in support of Ag2r’s team classification ambitions.




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