Sanremo champion Ciolek inks deal to remain part of Team MTN-Qhubeka until end of 2015
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sanremo champion Ciolek inks deal to remain part of Team MTN-Qhubeka until end of 2015

by VeloNation Press at 7:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
German rider will continue to help African project to grow

Gerald CiolekMilan Sanremo winner Gerald Ciolek may have had approaches from several teams after his Classic success but the German has decided to stay with the MTN Qhubeka squad, choosing to remain part of the growing Pro Continental setup.

Ciolek has inked a deal to be part of the team until the end of 2015, with his name and results likely to boost the team’s drive to compete in Grand Tours next season and to go on to ride the Tour de France.

“I always said I would like to stay with this team,” said Ciolek, who underlined his talent when he defeated experienced pros such as Erik Zabel to win the German road race title at just eighteen years of age. “As a professional cyclist you always look for other options but in the end I am really happy that I can go forward with this team.

“When I first found out about the team last year, I discovered a great team with great character and performing on a high level and I really like this.”

Ciolek’s Sanremo victory saw him outsprint a stunned Peter Sagan at the finish of the race, and confirmed his return to the top level after a couple of quieter seasons. He also clocked up wins on stages of the Driedaagse van West Vlaanderen, the Tour of Austria and Bayern Rundfarht and was second to Andre Greipel in the national road race championships.

While there’s still plenty of racing left this season, he’s already thinking about helping the team compete at a higher level in 2014.

“I think we had a really good year and now we want to build to go to an even better level next year. We are very ambitious as a team and want to grow and become the first African team to race the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France,” the 26 year old said.

“We have a very competitive team for a Grand Tour already. If we get all the guys into good shape I think we have the potential to go to a three-week stage race and do well. Not just the experienced guys but even the younger guys.”

Team principal Douglas Ryder knows that Ciolek’s name is an important asset in terms of getting race invites, but also that the German rider has an important captain’s role. He’s pleased that he’s remaining on board as a result.

“We’re delighted that Gerald has extended with us. He’s made a huge impact on our team, not only with his results but also with mentoring the younger riders,” he said. “They’re excited to have a captain that is down to earth and takes the time to share his experience. We now look forward to increasing our race program as we build towards our first Grand Tour.”

The squad is in ongoing sponsorship talks to raise the budget in order to advance the project. In the meantime, riders such as Ciolek will continue to work to notch up results.

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