After two years with Giant-Alpecin, 22-year-old Fredrik Ludvigsson finds himself in limbo for the 2017 season as he continues to search for a new team. In order to continue his career, Ludvigsson has taken to Twitter to help his cause, asking his followers that if you know "a team who need a strong rider for 2017 please contact me" via email with offers.
"The problem is that it's really late in the season and all the team I have had contact with are full for 2017 so it's put me in a really bad situation," Ludvigsson told Cyclingnews via email. "That's why I wrote onTwitter to see if I can get some help also from there, and I'm really thankful for all the people's help. At the moment no team has contacted me but we will see in coming days..."
Having been told there would be no contract extension after the Canadian one-day WorldTour races, Ludvigsson rode a trio of one-day races in Italy that culminated with Il Lombardia. His time with Giant-Alpecin then came to a close at the Tour of Hainan last month, where he helped teammate Max Walscheid to five stage wins and the points classification.
"I'm really motivated again after Hainan and I really want a contract and to take revenge for my last two years as pro that was really was terrible for me and that I just want to forget," said Ludvigsson, whose older brother Tobias is also leaving Giant-Alpecin but has secured a deal with FDJ. "But at the moment, I'm really dejected and If I have no team for 2017 I probably will end my career or take one year off and try to come back to 2018.."
Ludvigsson was one of the six Giant-Alpecin riders involved in the pre-season Calpe training ride crash that derailed the start of his season. While his injuries weren't as severe as some of his teammates, the crash was a mental set back and coupled with crash later in the season, Ludvigsson's race days were limited to just 39.
"For sure the accident in Calpe before the season was a big reason for not being able to show my real me during this season," he said of the impact of the accident. "I felt after a really good winter training better than ever before and really think this season could have been really good for me and I could really show the big engine I now have. But then the accident came and it destroyed a lot for me.
"Maybe I didn't have the biggest injuries but mentally it was really hard to come back riding in the peloton. When I finally felt better again in Pais Vasco and I started to get back to the me I know, I was again involved in an accident at the Baloise Belgium Tour that took me out of racing for four months. When I was ok to race again, the season was almost over and I only had the three one-day Italian races and Hainan left."
Acknowledging that he hasn't had any results for two years, "mostly after so much bad luck", Ludvigsson put together a solid U23 palmares to earn a contract with the Giant-Alpecin team. With his uncertain future playing on his mind, Ludvigsson explained that to sign off on his time with Giant-Alpecin at a successful Tour of Hainan campaign helped to remind him of the joys of racing.
"It hasn't been easy to do results to be able to sign a contract, and when you have had that long time with hard times and bad luck your head is not really with you anymore and you lose all your self-confidence and that also made this season harder and harder for me," he explained. "So when I went to Hainan I just wanted to get back to basics, try to just ride and enjoy and not think so much about making results or whatever. Just do your best and as long as I do that, it's good. I felt better and better in Hainan and could do a good work for the team and I'm happy with that performance and that end to this hard season. Because it was times where I thought about ending my career after all the bad luck and everything. It was not fun riding anymore, but in Hainan, I found it again and really enjoyed it."
While there is a suggestion of retirement from the sport from Ludvigsson, he added that he is willing to take a contract at the Continental level to show his talent and sign a second WorldTour contract next year for 2018 and beyond.
"I wanted to have a new start to get my self-confidence back so I told my agent that I want to go down one level from WorldTour to be able to do a restart and to find the real me again," he added. "I also told him that Continental will be okay, as long as I can do some half big races and do well there. I still have a big chance to come back to the pro peloton in 2018."