MrBookmaker looking to VDB
The launch of the MrBookmaker team would not usually create a stir, but the presence of Frank Vanden
PICTURE BY TDWSPORT.COM The MrBookmaker.com-SportsTech team was one of the first to be launched this season, with team manager Hilaire van der Schueren unveiling his squad to the press in Ostende on Wednesday afternoon. The star of the show was undoubtedly Frank Vandenbroucke, despite this being no less than his sixth team since he last secured a big win, a stage of the Vuelta way back in 1999. After breaking with Fassa Bortolo last season and being involved in a number of extracurricular events that made headline news, Vandenbroucke’s fledgling career with his new team has not got off to the best of starts. His attempt to get in plenty of training miles before the start of the season was foiled when he broke a bone in his foot playing football against a women’s team last month. “It all seems OK now. When I get back on the bike again on Saturday I will have missed three weeks of training. Add to that the absence from competition and training in the weeks and months beforehand and you will understand that I will not be starting our training camp in the best of condition. Bessges will no doubt be too quick for me,” he told La Dernire Heure. Now 30 and surely the rider most securely seated in the last chance saloon, Vandenbroucke is hoping a step down from the high-pressure environment of Fassa Bortolo and prior to that Quick Step will benefit him. “My goal is to complete a full season, without highs and lows,” he said. “This team offers me all that I want and there is no pressure. If I had got an injury like this through bad luck a year or two ago it would have been a catastrophe. But here they listen to me and help me. “I know that if I win a race they will be really chuffed with it. Compare that to the period when I rode for Cofidis or Quick Step when if you finished on the podium of a Classic or a World Cup race that someone else won, it was seen as a defeat,” said Vandenbroucke, who is hoping to be nearing top form at the start of March. Van der Schueren said of Vandenbroucke that “his arrival will reinforce us. Anything that he brings will be a bonus.” But the team manager is looking beyond what might happen in the coming weeks and plotting another attempt to get into the ProTour next season. “That’s our ambition for next season,” he said. “The team is well structured and we have two youth teams below us in the pyramid.