After German Bild magazine reported that CSC's Linus Gerdemann would be leaving the team for T-Mobile in 2006, T-Mobile has now confirmed that it has signed the young talent. The 23-year-old German rider has signed a deal that will keep him in magenta colours up until December 31, 2008, and will be the 29th rider on T-Mobile's roster for the coming season.
Gerdemann figured on the T-Mobile Team's wish list as early as last year, but CSC snaffled him first. "At that time we didn't have the opportunity to recruit him to the team," said T-Mobile's manager Olaf Ludwig. A few days ago, however, Ludwig and Gerdemann reached an agreement on a collaboration starting in 2007. "Linus also had a concrete offer from CSC for this period, but he decided to join us in 2007," added Ludwig. Without the prospect of a long-term working relationship with the rider, CSC manager Bjarne Riis made the decision to release Gerdemann with immediate effect. Ludwig reacted promptly, bringing forward Gerdemann's new contract to 2006.
"I am delighted that we were able to finalise a long-term contract with Linus. Last season he proved himself to be one of the most promising riders in the German cycling scene," said Ludwig, who wants to "progressively develop" the young pro, "so that in the future he will give us lots to celebrate".
Gerdemann scored a breakthrough win this year in the seventh stage of the Tour de Suisse. He also finished the Bayern-Rundfahrt in third overall and wore the leader's jersey for one day in his first pro race, the Four Days of Dunkirk. "Now I have the security to concentrate fully on my development as a rider," he said. "The chance to ride for TMobile is a great opportunity for me. I am sure that I can fulfil my potential with this team, and am looking forward to the challenge."
Bjarne Riis has called Gerdemann "the next Jan Ullrich." The current Jan Ullrich was quoted in Bild as saying "Gerdemann is the most talented young rider in Germany. He is a real jewel."