Polish Pro Continental team CCC Sprandi Polkowice has announced a two-year deal with Portuguese climbing talent Amaro Manuel Antunes. The 26-year-old was most recently runner-up at the Volta a Portugal, where he won the final stage, and he also impressed in the spring when he won a stage of the Volta ao Algarve.
Antunes has ridden with the W52/FC Porto team in 2017, his sixth year in the Continental ranks, and explained he is thrilled with the opportunity extended to him by CCC Sprandi Polkowice.
"I feel very happy to have reached an agreement with CCC Sprandi Polkowice," Antunes said. "It is a team that provides great conditions for riders to compete at the international level, against top teams in the world. I hope that in 2018 I will continue my progress and will have the opportunity to claim good results for the team in the biggest races of the cycling calendar."
In 2017, Antunes also won the 2.2-level GP Internacional Torres Vedras - Trofeu Joaquim Agostinho and 1.2 Classica da Arrabida, with the team keeping a tab on his results. Antunes was the junior Portuguese road race and time trial champion in 2008.
Having lost its GC rider Jan Hirt to Astana at the end of 2017, the team believe Antunes can step up and replicate the success of the Czech rider from 2018.
"He has a great potential to be one of the top climbers. We believe that he will fill Jan Hirt's shoes, who is leaving our squad after the season and that Amaro will shine in the mountains as much as the Czech," said the team's DS Piotr Wadecki.
"He's proved that he's capable of doing just that at Volta ao Algarve, where he was successfully competing against top World Tour riders. He is also a solid time triallist, so he should do well in stage races. He's been developing well and 2017 was his breakthrough season. We are very happy that he is joining our team, where he will be able to truly spread his wings."