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“If everything goes well, if I feel good on the bike, I can go for the GC but I don’t want to put too much pressure on my shoulders for this coming season. If it goes even better and I can stay with the best guys, I am competiti...

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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LINUS GERDEMANN

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19.12.2013 @ 14:16 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After a one-year absence, Linus Gerdemann will be back in the professional peloton when he lines up for MTN-Qhubeka in the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in January. The German has his sights set on the Giro d'Italia where he will target either the GC or stage wins.

 

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 has 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.

 

Gerdemann started to rebuild his form in the late summer after having signed a two-year deal with MTN-Qhubeka. Feeling well on the bike after several months of steady, gradual build-up, he is confident that he will be able to find back to his former level.

 

MTN-Qhubeka is a professional continental team and so Gerdemann still doesn't know which races he will do. However, it is no secret that the team is trying to secure an invitation to the Giro d'Italia and the German is hopeful that he will be allowed to return to a three-week race.

 

However, he knows that he has to be careful after a one-year absence.

 

“I want to start well but not too well because I’m building up to April and March,” he told Velonews. “I don’t want to make a mistake, to be too motivated now and burnt out in March. I need a good build-up. It’s no secret that we want to race the Giro. That’s my goal, to be in good shape there and in the races beforehand.”

 

In the past, Gerdemann was the GC leader at the Milram team but never managed to do better than 16th at the 2010 Giro. He is still undecided about whether to go for the GC or stage wins if he is at the Giro start line in Belfast in May.

 

“It depends. I don’t know how I’ll go after a year back,” he said. “If everything goes well, if I feel good on the bike, I can go for the GC but I don’t want to put too much pressure on my shoulders for this coming season. If it goes even better and I can stay with the best guys, I am competitive on the climbs, I won’t say no to [the GC].”

 

Gerdemann will kick off his season on January 13 in the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon. He continues in the Challenge Mallorca and then at Italy’s one-day races, most likely Strade Bianche and Roma Maxima. Tirreno-Adriatico is also on his schedule if his team receives a wildcard for the WorldTour race.

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