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“I want to improve next year but I also hope to guide the younger riders so we can enjoy success together as a team. I think it’s going to be great for us all to see the riders from Africa compete at this level," Gerdemann...

Photo: Unipublic/Graham Watson




13.11.2013 @ 15:09 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After a one-year absence, Linus Gerdemann is ready to make his comeback with the MTN-Qhubeka team in 2014. Having enjoyed his year off, the German is looking forward to taking on a mentor role for the African riders on his new team.


At the end of the 2012 season, Linus Gerdemann faced a career-threatening situation when he was informed by his then Radioshack team that his contract wouldn't be renewed. Having been unsuccessful in his search for a new team, the rider that have previously won a big mountain stage in the Tour de France, suddenly found himself with no job at just 30 years of age.


After a year away from the sport, Gerdemann is now ready to return to the professional peloton. Earlier this year it was announced that he will ride for MTN-Qhubeka in 2014, being one of the experienced riders on the team that hopes to develop young African riders into top level professionals.


In his new team, he will join forces with the likes of Gerald Ciolek, Sergio Pardilla and Ignatas Konovalovas in the mentor roles while he will also chase sporting success on his own in the stage races. As a former winner of the Deutschland Tour, the Bayern Rundfahrt, the Tour of Luxembourg and the Tour de l'Ain, he will significantly reinforce the team when it comes to multi-day events.


While the year off wasn't planned, it ended up serving him well.


“I wasn’t bored at all,” he told Cyclingnews. “I felt more relaxed as a person. I bought a house and renovated it, which was totally different to working in cycling so it was nice to change the normal way of life. It was a good year for me personally but now I am looking forward to competing and being successful.


“I want to improve next year but I also hope to guide the younger riders so we can enjoy success together as a team. I think it’s going to be great for us all to see the riders from Africa compete at this level.”


Having stayed active during the past year, Gerdemann has stepped up his training this week. He was tested by his team in October and was deemed to be in good condition. The MTN-Qhubeka training camp in December will allow him to start the build-up of the form that should see him reach his peak in March.


Having deliberately not asked for a wild card invitation for one of the grand tours in 2013, MTN-Qhubeka is keen to make its debut in a three-week race in 2014. With 8 grand tours starts under his belt, Gerdemann will play a valuable role as one of the experienced riders, should the team get invited to one of the three big stage races.


If that happens, the German will try to copy the breakthrough stage win in Le Grand-Bornand that allowed him to take the yellow jersey and made him a household name in the professional cycling world.



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