Dutchman gets further chance to show what he can do
Having had a mixed first season with the Garmin-Sharp team, winning a stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe but also finding the going tough in other races such as the Tour de Suisse, Thomas Dekker is both relieved and motivated after he was offered a two year extension.
The Dutchman will remain with American setup until the end of 2014, and said today he will continue working to raise his level.
"We, my management, Jonathan Vaughters and me, assessed the comeback so far and we made new plans for the future," he announced on the SEG agency website. "I am very happy that we share the same vision and that I can keep working with these people in this team."
Dekker returned to racing last season after a long suspension for EPO use, initially lining out with his current squad's development team Chipotle Sugar Labs. After much deliberation he was given the opportunity to step up to the WorldTour level with the Garmin-Sharp team this year. According to general manager Jonathan Vaughters, he would be paid the UCI's minimum wage during the current season.
"Garmin-Sharp gave me the opportunity to return in a good way to the highest level of cycling and I will be eternally grateful for that. Garmin-Sharp is all about clean cycling and I am very much aware of my specific role in that respect," he said. "The team supports me and I support the team and Jonathan Vaughters in their fight against doping."
Given that he had used banned substances to achieve many of his big results prior to his suspension, it was in some ways reassuring to those watching his progress that he had a more modest showing this time round. He believes he'll improve, and pledges to keep working hard.
"Jonathan had already predicted that my first season would include ups and downs. I won a race but I also had to abandon races like the Tour de Suisse," he said. "The most important thing is that we started teh foundation on which we can continue to build in the next two years. I don't only have faith in the future but the people around me, too."
He is currently competing in the Vuelta a Espana, his first Grand Tour since the 2007 Tour de France. His best stage placing has been 80th on stage 12. He is now 139th overall.
Original article by: VeloNation.