Axeon signs U23 time trial world champion Mikkel Bjerg

'I think it's the perfect way for me to develop as a cyclist,' says 18-year-old Dane

The Axeon Hagens Berman development team has announced the signing of reigning U23 time trial world champion Mikkel Bjerg of Denmark for the 2018 season.

Bjerg, racing his first year in the U23 ranks with Danish Continental team Giant-Catselli, took the U23 rainbow jersey in Bergen by more than a minute ahead of US rider Brandon McNulty. He most recently finished second at the Chrono des Nations behind countryman Martin Toft Madsen and ahead of WorldTour time trial specialist Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar), the reigning Spanish time trial champion and 2016 European champion.

“Mikkel was impressive in winning U23 TT Worlds,” said team owner Axel Merckx. “I’m excited to have a world champion on our team and to help him develop even more.”

Bjerg was second to McNulty in the time trial at the 2016 junior World Championships in Doha, third at the 2017 Denmark National Elite time trial and second at the 2017 U23 time trial European Championships. He also recently attempted the UCI Hour Record in Odense Cykelbane, Denmark, setting a new Danish national record of 52.311km and beating Ole Ritter’s record of 48.879km set in 1974. The distance places Bjerg fifth all time in the hour record behind Bradley Wiggins, Tom Zirbel, Alex Dowsett and Rohan Dennis.

“Joining Hagens Berman Axeon means the world to me,” Bjerg said. “I think it's the perfect way for me to develop as a cyclist. It's a big step in the right direction towards my goal of reaching the WorldTour in the coming years.”

Bjerg joins 2018 Hagens Berman Axeon signings Jasper Philipsen, Zeke Mostov, Cole Davis, and Maikel Zijlaard. The team, which started in 2009 as a Continental team and has propelled nearly two dozen riders to the WorldTour, has applied for Pro Continental status next year.

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