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“I put them in contact with each other, but I was never involved in the negotiations myself,“ said Roberts. “I'm happy to see that both teams will continue in this form next year.“

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Photo: CULT Energy Pro Cycling

LUKE ROBERTS

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STÖLTING SERVICE GROUP

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TEAM STÖLTING

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20.08.2015 @ 23:59 Posted by Lukas Knöfler

Luke Roberts is no stranger to the two teams that announced today that they will merge to form CULT Energy Stölting Group in 2016. The Australian has raced at Team Stölting for two years before becoming a sports director at CULT Energy Pro Cycling, taking German rider Christian Mager with him to the Danish ProContinental team.

 

And when CyclingQuotes.com spoke with Roberts today, he confirmed that he'd played a role in the process: “I knew both teams well, and I suggested this a while back. I knew that both the teams and the sponsors fit well together.“

But until today, he was as much in the dark about the future of both his old and new teams as anyone: “I put them in contact with each other, but I was never involved in the negotiations myself,“ said Roberts. “So I had no idea how far they actually got. But I'm happy to see that both teams will continue in this form next year and fulfil their goals of racing at ProContinental level.“

 

2015 season still ends in September

The team's longer-term future is now secured, with both sponsors agreeing to three-year deals. However, for the current season, CULT has previously announced that the race program would be cut short, with the team's last race being the Tour of Britain.
 

And the new situation won't change that, says Roberts: “The group of sports directors made the decision to limit the program in order to help cut the budget down a little bit. Our priority was to make sure that all employed staff and riders can be paid through the end of the season.”

“We have some riders going to the World Championships,” the Australian continued. “They'll go over there early as it's a long way to the USA. This means that they couldn't come to the start line for us, so it was going to be a struggle for us to build a team anyway.”

“It's true that we'll finish a few weeks earlier than other teams, but it was a decision we made in order to keep the cost down. All the riders will have enough races all the way to mid-September,” Roberts explained.

 

Own future uncertain – but wants to stay

Roberts' contract with the team is valid for 2015 only, so he isn't sure of his own future yet. The sports director laughed when asked if he'd even want to look at any other options given that 'his' two teams are now looking at a bright future together, then said: “At this stage, the management needs to set up the structure of the team, and look how the team will be structured, and whether I'm going to be a part of that or not.”


But Roberts didn't hide that he was eager to continue in his current role: “Of course I'd like to. I've invested a lot of hard work into both teams over the last years, first helping Stölting to build that up to what it was, and a lot of work this year with CULT too. It would be good to continue to develop with them.”

 

Better planning security

Whatever Roberts' own situation may be, the experience from one year at the professional level and the stable financial situation will lead to more planning security and a better season structure, the Australian is convinced: “It's been a bit difficult this year, having a new team. We didn't know which races we were going to be invited to and which not. It's difficult to really structure the best possible race plan for each rider. Next year, the team is going into its second year, a lot of the riders are going to continue as part of the team, and it will be a lot easier now compared to the hard work we had this year.”

 

CULT Energy Stölting Energy will have a Danish license, but the team will be managed out of Team Stölting's headquarters in Gelsenkirchen. It will be interesting to see how this Danish-German cooperation works out.

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