Dutchman De Jongh joins Team Sky as directeur sportif

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Team Sky has announced that Belgium's Steven De Jongh will be a directeur sportif with the new British team.

The 35 year-old Dutchman retired on Thursday after riding the Grand Piemonte race in Italy. During his 14-year career he rode for TVM (1995-1999), Rabobank (2000-2005) and Quick Step (2006-2009).

He was a solid sprinter, winning Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, E3 Prijs Vlaanderen and Veenendaal-Veenendaal. He also won stages in the Tour of Holland, Sweden and Poland but often worked for Tom Boonen in sprint finishes. 

Sean Yates and Marcus Ljungqvist

After confirming 16 of the expected 25 riders in the team's line-up, the names of the directeur sportif who will manage them are also starting to emerge.

As well as Scott Sunderland and De Jongh, Britain's Sean Yates has also been widely rumoured as being part of the Team Sky management team. Yates worked for Astana this year but is not among the riders and staff set to jump ship to stay with Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel at Radio Shack in 2010.

Cycling Weekly understands that Saxo Bank rider Marcus Ljungqvist will be the fourth directeur sportif at Team Sky, with perhaps one other person still needed.

The powerful 34 year-old Swede recently turned down offers from Saxo Bank and Radio Shack for 2010 but refused to say what he would do after retirement. Like De Jongh, Ljungqvist is a former team mate of Sunderland.

To date, Team Sky has revealed 16 riders for 2010, with more expected as the season ends. Six British riders: Geraint Thomas, Steve Cummings, Pete Kennaugh, Chris Froome, Ian Stannard and Russell Downing, and ten international riders: Edvald Boasson Hagen, Thomas Lovkvist, Kurt Arvesen, Simon Gerrans, Juan Antonio Flecha, Kjell Carlstrom, John Lee Augustyn, Greg Henderson, Lars Petter Nordhaug and Morris Possoni.

 

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