Following hope of a ProTeam deal, Frederik Wilmann signs with Joker-Merida
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Following hope of a ProTeam deal, Frederik Wilmann signs with Joker-Merida

by Jered Gruber at 1:26 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
25 year old Norwegian returns to his former team for 2011

25 year old Norwegian talent, Frederik Wilmann, was recently linked to a possible move to either Saxo Bank or QuickStep following the annulment of a two year deal with Skil-Shimano after only one season.

Speaking with Procycling.no, the young talent was convinced about his decision, despite entering the transfer market late in the season and with only a 15th at the Tour de l'Ain, 18th at the Tour of Qinghai Lake, and 18th at the Tour of Turkey to show for his 2010.

"I have simply not enjoyed this year at all," admitted Wilmann. "I feel I have raced at 80% throughout the year. It has been a boring season…It will come as a shock for most, but this was a chance I had to take. To throw away another year would be detrimental to my career, and that is not an option to me. I'm taking a chance, but I feel I must take it."

Wilmann was not happy with the team nor the chances available to him.

"I am 25 years old, and it's time to race one of the major tours," said the Norwegian at the time.

With that in mind, Wilmann entered the transfer market, and there appeared to be some great chances on the rise with either Bjarne Riis's Saxo Bank team or Patrick Lefevere's QuickStep squad.

It was exactly the position Wilmann hoped to be in, as he made it clear that he was only interested in racing at the highest level.

"I want to ride on a ProTour team or a Professional Continental team. It is pro life, or nothing."

Two weeks ago, the prospects were looking good, but on the 22nd, the announcement came that Wilmann signed with Joker-Merida for 2011, a continental team - the team he raced for in 2008 and 2009.

The possibilities with both Saxo Bank and QuickStep dried up, but even the late signing with Joker-Merida was not necessarily in the cards. The team was set for 2011, but Joker-Merida wasn't going to pass up on the huge talent that is Wilmann.

"We had basically filled up the team for next season already, but we couldn't say no to such a strong rider like Frederik Wilmann," said Joker Merida director, Gino Van Oudenhove to VG.no.

Van Oudenhove hopes to see his former rider return to his former heights. In 2009, while racing with Joker-Bianchi, Wilmann showed himself to be a rider with unlimited potential following wins at Mi-Aout Bretonne, a stage of the Tour Alsace, along with top finishes throughout the season including 3rd at the Norwegian national championships time trial, 6th at Paris-Correze, 7th at the Ringerike GP, and 10th at the Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux.

"We know Frederik very well," said Van Oudenhove. "He is still a rider we have great faith in and want to develop."

 

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