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Winner Aleksej Saramontins from Latvia
Münsterland Giro winner to Columbia in 2010, Designa Køkken search for replacement
Winner of Saturday's Münsterland Giro, Aleksejs Saramotins has capped of a big weekend with the announcement that he will race for Columbia-HTC in 2010. The 27-year-old Latvian is one of two riders that will leave Danish Continental team Designa Køkken for a ProTour squad at the end of the current season.
"I have had a great season which I would like to thank Designa Køkken for," said Saramotins on Sunday. "They have really managed to help me develop into an even better rider."
Despite his imminent departure from Designa Køkken, Saramotins gave the team reason to celebrate on Saturday, as he rode to a six-second victory at the Sparkassen Münsterland Giro in Germany. He finished ahead of Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil) and Thierry Hupont (Skil-Shimano). Saramotins also upstaged his soon-to-be ProTour colleagues; Columbia-HTC's André Greipel finished sixth.
Saramotins had also been courted by Dutch Pro Continental squad Vacansoleil, but reached an agreement with the management of Designa Køkken that he would stay with the team unless an offer was made by a ProTour team.
"We reached an agreement with Saramotins to extend his contract with us," said Designa Køkken team manager Christian Andersen. "He had received an offer from Vacansoleil, but yet he chose to stay with us. However, we made a deal that he could sign with a ProTour team if an offer came before October 15. Columbia did that, and we would never stand in the way of such an opportunity."
Designa Køkken has recently proven to be a breeding ground for ProTour talent. Saramotins will join teammate Laurent Didier in the move from the Continental level to cycling's top-flight. Luxembourger Didier will commence racing with Saxo Bank next season, a move that mirrors the one made by Dane Jakob Fuglsang last year.
Designa Køkken said today that they have begun to look for a replacement for Saramotins. The squad confirmed that they have already recruited 2009 World Points race silver medallist Daniel Kreutzfeldt and Michael Færk Christensen for next season.
Danes Jimmi Sørensen, Rasmus Quaade and Glenn Bak have renewed their contracts with Designa Køkken.
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