Zak Dempster holding out for ProTeam contract after HTC-Highroad experience
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Zak Dempster holding out for ProTeam contract after HTC-Highroad experience

by Xylon van Eyck at 8:11 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Says he has been strong all season and wants to prove he can make it in Europe

Zak DempsterZak Dempster has been riding as a stagiaire for HTC-Highroad since August. The American team will be shutting its doors at the end of the season which means the Australian has to look for a professional contract elsewhere. Dempster told VeloNation in recent days that although the squad was ending, he was pleased to have been given the opportunity of experiencing the team for a little while.

“I took the position whilst Highroad was still hopeful of continuing next year,” he said. “To be honest, once it was announced the team was ceasing operation, it was disappointing for everyone involved cycling - including me - to see such a successful team unable to find backing.

“However, the opportunity to be a part of the most winning team in cycling is something I was not going to let go. It's a privilege to have an opportunity to be a part the Highroad structure and I'm very thankful for the chance they gave me.”

The 24 year old, who rode for Rapha Condor prior to starting the stagiaire slot, has impressed all season with a number of victories which led to the attention of HTC-Highroad. In April he won the overall in the Tour Doon Hame in front of a strong field of continental riders plus the Rutland - Melton event, while in June he picked up a stage in Ronde de l'Oise.

“I'm satisfied with my season,” he said. “I think I was really strong and consistent during the spring and took the opportunities to win when they were there. I felt like I had a good level of determination in the races, and that proved successful.

“Definitely, results make the cycling world go around. It's a difficult market at the moment and you need to show you’re a strong, consistent rider, to help the team and to win for yourself when you get the opportunity. And I feel like I did all of those things this season which got me noticed by a few squads and gave me the chance with HTC-Highroad.”

The Australian is still hopeful of a contract from a ProTeam for next year and the solid support riding he did for the HTC Highroad leaders will have been noticed. However Dempster knows that securing a contract won’t be easy.

“I've had a few strong leads throughout the year but it's not an easy season to reach the top level. I'm still in discussions with two current ProTeams and I'm hopeful it will lead to a contract for 2012.

“The most important thing is that I'm able to race competitively in Europe, to contribute significantly to a team that's winning, and take the opportunity to be successful myself when I get the chance. I'm able to take a one year deal to show what I can do and I know I'm capable of contributing to a team at the top level.

“Turning professional is just the beginning, though, and I'm excited by the prospect of there being another level and prospective challenge ahead.”


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