Gerdemann reassured by result of first race in seventeen months
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Monday, January 20, 2014

Gerdemann reassured by result of first race in seventeen months

by Shane Stokes at 10:51 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Top five finish in Tropicale Amissa Bongo proves MTN Qhubeka rider is in good shape

Linus GerdemannRiding his first professional event since he crashed out of the 2012 Vuelta a España, Linus Gerdemann showed last week that he has managed to regain solid form despite his long period out of the sport.

The German rider shrugged off his seventeen month absence when he raced to a final fifth overall in the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo.

In doing so, he reassured his fans, his new MTN Qhubeka team and, most of all, himself that he should be competitive again this year.

The former Tour de France stage winner and Maillot Jaune wearer ended the 2.1 ranked race just 23 seconds off the time of the final overall victory Natnael Berhane (Europcar).

He told VeloNation before the race that he felt his chances would be improved had the route been hillier, but showed well regardless.

“I’m really happy with how things went,” he said after the final stage. “To finish in the top five in my first race for over a year is good. I came here to get some racing in the legs and I felt very strong. I was also surprised by the level of the racing here. I think it was a very good advert for African cycling.”

Gerdemann was previously part of some of the biggest teams in the sport, including CSC, T-Mobile, Columbia, Leopard Trek and RadioShack Nissan, but didn’t have his contract with the latter extended at the end of 2012.

He found out late that he would be left without a ride and decided to take a year out. He signed a contract last autumn with the growing MTN Qhubeka team and will be one of its top GC hopes during this season.

He’s still settling in, but appears to be pleased with what he has seen thus far. “The guys on the team are incredible and have huge potential. Myself and John-Lee [Augustyn] in particular used our experience to help the younger guys. I am excited for the season ahead.”

Gerdemann had hoped to head the squad in the Giro d’Italia, but race organisers RCS Sport overlooked the team when it revealed its final selections last week. He and the others will be fired up to prove a point in the upcoming races, both to show RCS Sport that it deserve a place and also to push its case for inclusion in either the Tour de France or Vuelta a España.

Next up for MTN Qhubeka’s rides are training camps in South Africa and in Mallorca, then more racing.

While the team was left out of the list for the Giro d’Italia, it did get the nod for Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan Sanremo. The squad won the latter last year with Gerdemann’s compatriot and friend, Gerard Ciolek.

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