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Brian Bulgac (Lotto Belisol) during the final time trial
Dutchman returns to WorldTour level
Having previously ridden at WorldTour level with Lotto-Belisol for two seasons, Dutchman Brian Bulgaç returns to the top-tier of professional racing with Giant-Shimano in 2014 after a short stint at Continental level.
The 26-year-old started his career with the Rabobank Continental Team in 2010 and the next year moved to the Omega Pharma-Lotto development team. He signed for Lotto in 2012 and rode his debut Giro d'Italia in May, twice making his way into a long breakaway.
Bulgaç started the year with Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team but impressed Giant Shimano, securing a contract and makes his debut this weekend at the 1.1HC Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt in Germany.
"I am very thankful for the opportunity that Team Giant-Shimano have given me to allow me to return to the WorldTour and to continue progressing at the top level of the sport," Bulgaç said.
"Last winter I unfortunately I had to take some steps back in my career, and made the step down to join a continental team at the start of the season, with a much reduced race program.
"However, I got in touch with the coaches of Team Giant-Shimano and was invited to a team training camp at their training base in Spain."
Bulgaç explained on the Giant Shimano website that is was his efforts at the training camp which was the catalyst for clinching a contract.
"The training camp was a test to see whether cooperation from both sides was possible, as well as to get to know one another and to see if there was a fit.
"We spoke about my development as a rider and in which direction I wanted to go and how the team could help me to progress towards this goal. For me personally it is a totally different approach than what I am used to.
"I learned more about teamwork during that week, getting lessons from both the riders in the team as well as the different specialists with whom I connected to get the maximum out of me in all areas both as a cyclist and as a person.
"I am happy that I can continue on the path of become a consistent professional. I am more motivated than ever, I am working hard and I feel that I am already getting stronger."
For Giant-Shimano's coach, Rudi Kemna, the signing made sense for the team and he welcomed the addition of Bulgaç.
"We do not just hire any rider, but we hire riders who we think have the skills and the mindset to make steps in their development – and Brian is such a rider," Kemma said.
"We didn’t want to force such a decision in a short period of time (after he was out of contract) but we preferred to get to know him and work with him at a training camp to see if both parties could work well together.
"We see him developing into a rider in the team for the difficult one-day races and also for stage races and we look forward to developing alongside one another."
Giant-Shimano for Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt: Jonas Ahlstrand, Nikias Arndt, Bert De Backer, Brian Bulgac, John Degenkolb, Johannes Fröhlinger, Cheng Ji and Tom Peterson.