Dimension Data have confirmed the signing of Amstel Gold winner Michael Valgren on a two-year deal. Cyclingnews revealed on Thursday that Dimension Data were leading the hunt for the Danish rider, who leaves Astana after a two-year spell with the team.
The 26-year-old Valgren enjoyed a breakthrough season, with victories at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Amstel Gold Race. He also finished fourth at the Tour of Flanders, despite a heavy crash, missing out on the podium after he was out-sprinted by Philippe Gilbert. He rode his fourth Tour de France in July and played a part in setting up Magnus Cort for his victory in Carcassone on stage 15.
Valgren will strengthen Dimension Data’s Classics line-up, which is currently spearheaded by Edvald Boasson Hagen on the cobbles and Tom-Jelte Slagter in the hilly races. Dimension Data endured a difficult Classics campaign this season with several riders forced to sit out due to injury.
“I’m extremely excited to be joining Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. It’s a big opportunity for me to go to a team that’s keen on really building its Classics squad. I really look forward to working with the guys on the team and I see a big future there for myself,” said Valgren. “I’m also really proud to join the team because of what it stands for: its mission to distribute bicycles through the Qhubeka charity. It’s a super-cool mission and I’m really looking forward to being a part of that.
“Right now, I can’t wait for 2019 to get going on my new BMC bike, which is obviously also really important these days – the equipment. In that regard, Team Dimension Data is right on top of things so I’m sure there will be some great, great years ahead.”
Valgren is the first new signing for the squad for the 2019 season with Ben O’Connor the only confirmed extension. On Thursday, Dimension Data announced three stagiaires for the remainder of the 2018 season, Matteo Sobrero, Kent Main, and British national champion, Connor Swift. The team currently has a number of riders out of contract at the end of this season, including Mark Cavendish. Team manager Doug Ryder says that bringing Valgren on-board is a step forward in the team’s progression.
“Michael signing is another step in our journey to the top of the sport, in particular, gives a major boost to our Classics campaign, where he showed such good form earlier in the year,” Ryder said. “Equally important, though, is how impressed he’s been by the Qhubeka charity and the opportunity he now has, as one of our riders, to make a meaningful impact in changing lives through bicycles.
“We can’t wait to get started with him as we continue to build towards our ambitious Vision 2020 goal.”