20-year-old Guldhammer signs with Columbia-HTC
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Friday, December 18, 2009

20-year-old Guldhammer signs with Columbia-HTC

by VeloNation Press at 3:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Press Release
 

Columbia-HTC has signed 20-year-old Rasmus Guldhammer for the 2010 season. Last year the young Dane won the Under-23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege Classic and the GP Portugal. He also finished fourth in the Tour of Denmark, where he took the Best Young Rider award.

"The fact that I'm a climber is always at the back of my mind," explained Guldhammer about his strengths as a bike rider.

Guldhammer discovered he was exceptionally good at riding fast up mountains while on holiday with his parents in Italy one summer. "I'm tall and skinny so everybody said I should be good at climbing, but back home in Denmark it's pretty flat and it's not easy to find those hills. Once I found out I could do it, though, I quickly found out how nice it is to go hard up climbs with the rest of the field just clinging on behind, too!"

His performances are known throughout the amateur field, and as American newcomer to Columbia-HTC Tejay Van Garderen says, "we've all got used to seeing Rasmus's back wheel on the climbs!"

Columbia-HTC manager Rolf Aldag was quick to notice his talent, and after a four-hour meeting, Guldhammer signed for 2010. "You always think you're not good enough, but this year I moved up a whole level, and I decided, just like that, that I was going to become a pro," he explained.

Born and bred in the town of Velje, Denmark, Guldhammer had plenty of opportunities to watch the professional climbers in action as a teenager. Velje reguarly plays host to the biggest stage of the Tour of Denmark, and one of the country's few really steep climbs, which often features that day, is near Guldhammer's home. "So many people come to that stage it's like it's the Tour de France. The climb itself is only 500 metres long, but the gradient's 21 percent and it's so packed out with fans you could be standing on Alpe D'Huez."

Guldhammer was one of those spectators on that climb for many years, along with his father, who used to cycle himself. "He was Danish amateur champion in 1989 and even though he never turned pro, he's always encouraged me to do what I wanted as an athlete. He still gives me training advice. He told me not to overdo it, because if I turned pro. I would have a tough enough time then. He was right - I've already noticed in my first training rides with Columbia-HTC in Spain that's it ten or fifteen percent harder!"

Back in his amateur days, in the evenings and between races, Guldhammer would concentrate on studying economics. "Fortunately my course tutors were very understanding. They would send me the homework by email and I'd do it between races. I always thought I'd go into business if my professional career didn't work out. For now, though, I'm more than happy to see what I can do with Columbia-HTC."

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