Dutch WorldTour set up Argos Shimano has announced the formation of an Under 23 squad for the 2014 season. The team will complete at the Continental level - subject to UCI licence approval - and act as a feeder squad for the WorldTour team. Argos-Shimano already has a women’s professional team.
“The team will be composed of a mix of young riders moving up from the junior ranks and 22-year-old riders with some experience in the Europe Tour,” the team confirmed in a statement released on Wednesday.
“The establishment of this team is a reflection of what Team Argos-Shimano stands for: development of young riders through our way of working," said general manager Iwan Spekenbrink.
Spekenbrink has built Argos Shimano into one of the most admired WorldTour squads on the circuit. This year the team competed in the Tour de France for a third time, with sprinter Marcel Kittel winning four stages. The team also won stages in both the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana this season.
Spekenbrink has designated Jens Lang as the head coach of the Under 23 team. The German previously held a similar position with Thüringer Energie, where he worked with both Kittel and John Degenkolb.
“I’m enjoying the new task,” said Lang. “It is a challenge to work in an international team. The new team will offer an optimal environment for preparing young riders for the WorldTour, which is something I am eager to be part of.”
Last week the team announced that Kittel had extended his contract with the team and that several of the female riders would remain within the team too. The roster for the U23 programme will be announced at a later date.