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“I am really happy to join the team. We have a huge opportunity to make the sport big on the African continent and you don’t have this opportunity every day. I see huge potential for African cycling and it’s an honour for...

Photo: Unipublic/Graham Watson




19.08.2013 @ 18:28 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Linus Gerdemann will return to the professional peloton after a one-year absence. The 30-year old German has signed a two-year contract with MTN-Qhubeka where he will bolster the team's stage racing squad as it aims to get into one of the grand tours in 2014.


Linus Gerdemann's career came to an abrupt halt when he wasn't resigned by the Radioshack team prior to his season and he has since been unable to find a new employer. His absence from the sport will come to an end next season as the German has signed a two-year contract with the Pro Continental MTN-Qhubeka team.


Once regarded as a huge grand tour prospect after winning a mountain stage in the 2007 Tour de France, his progressed stalled during his years as team leader on the Milram squad. He moved to Leopard-Trek for the 2011 season and won the team's home race Tour of Luxembourg during his first season at the team.


MTN-Qhubeka is the first African professional continental team and hopes to help young African cyclists grow into world stars. With Gerdemann's experience, he is set to play a crucial role in that mission.


“I am really happy to join the team,” he said. “We have a huge opportunity to make the sport big on the African continent and you don’t have this opportunity every day. I see huge potential for African cycling and it’s an honour for me to join the team.”


“I see that as part of my job here, to make African cycling bigger. The racing in Europe at the moment is tougher and bigger so it’s important to have the experience to share. From what I’ve seen though the guys are motivated and with my experience I think I definitely want to help for African cycling to grow.”


Gerdemann had a tough time when he was left without a contract but said that the Milan-Sanremo win of close friend and new teammate Gerald Ciolek was a huge inspiration. The duo were joint captains at Milram earlier in their careers.


“I’ve trained for a long time with him," Gerdemann said. "For me he is like a young cycling brother as we spend a lot of time together on the bike and off the bike. It was such a great moment for me because I knew he had that potential and I was really happy to see him use it in one of the most important races on the calendar and that was very inspiring and motivating for me.”


The former wearer of the yellow jersey in the Tour de France expects to get a seamless transition.


“I have travelled a lot but for me, South Africa is probably the nicest country I have been to," he said. "I’ve spent one entire summer in Cape Town for three or four months and really loved it. Another time I spent a few weeks in Crystal Springs for altitude training, which isn’t too far from Johannesburg. For me South Africa is fascinating and an amazing place."


The team has had a hugely successful first season with the Milan-Sanremo win being the standout performance. The addition of Gerdemann will strengthen the squad in stage races in which they have until now been hugely reliant on Sergio Pardilla who recently won a stage in the Volta a Portugal.


“We are incredibly happy to have Linus join our team,” Team Principal Douglas Ryder said. “With 8 Grand Tours under his belt he will really strengthen our team in our Grand Tour aspirations for 2014 and 2015. We have shown that we are able to support and build talent from the African Continent as well as resurrect rider careers due to the teams high performance culture, management and sponsor support. Our focus of racing for the Qhubeka Project inspires our riders to do so much more on the bike and give back to the sport they love, their success makes a huge difference to so many other people. A GC rider like Linus will bring our team more opportunities as we aim to take African Cycling to the highest levels of World Cycling.”


Gerdemann will race for the team during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.



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