Stijn Vandenbergh and Martin and Peter Velits to Quick Step for 2012
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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Stijn Vandenbergh and Martin and Peter Velits to Quick Step for 2012

by Ben Atkins at 1:48 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Slovakian twins become the latest riders to leave HTC-Highroad

peter velitsThe Quick Step team has announced the acquisition of three more riders for the next two seasons, in the shape of Belgian Stijn Vandenbergh, and Slovakian twins Martin and Peter Velits, all three on two year contracts. Vandenbergh joins a Belgian team for the first time since 2006, having spent three years with Katusha, while the Velits twins have both spent the past two seasons with HTC-Highroad, and the previous two with Milram.

“Martin, Peter and Stijn will be three important pieces on our team’s chess board. Stijn is a worthy athlete, a specialist in the classics and a team player,” said team manager Patrick Lefevere. “Martin and Peter come from a country full of potential like Slovakia, which is growing on the cycling scene.

“Martin is an athlete who’s already proven his worth in the young categories and in his first seasons as a pro,” Lefevere continued. “We’re counting on him a lot, since we consider him an athlete who can improve even further.”

Peter is the more accomplished of the two 26-year-old twins so far, having finished third in last year’s Vuelta a España. He also had a strong finish to the recent Tour de France, finishing fourth on the stage to Alpe d’Huez and ninth in the final time trial.

“[He] stood out to us for the good end-of-season he had last year,” explained Lefevere, “which saw him winning a stage and third place in the GC in the Vuelta España and for the good performance at the recent Tour de France. He’s a complete rider, with him the team is gaining an athlete who can potentially make it to the podium in the Grand Tours.”

Martin and Peter Velits are the latest two riders to have found teams away from HTC-Highroad, after the announcement of Patrick Gretsch’s signing for Skil-Shimano today. While the Highroad team is looking hard for a new sponsor – and there has been a rumour that HTC has been persuaded to stay on board – the uncertainty over the team’s future is undoubtedly causing riders to consider options elsewhere.

It was confirmed yesterday that Quick Step will be merging with Belgian rival Omega Pharma in 2012.

“I’m happy to become a part of such a prestigious team with great goals for the future,” said Peter Velits. “It’s doubly satisfying if I think that I can continue riding side by side with my brother Martin. My objective is to continue growing gradually and repay the trust that the team has placed in me.”

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