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Rasmus Guldhammer catches up with some mates at the sign-on
Dane hopes to contribute to squad's 2013 Pro Conti ambitions
Rasmus Guldhammer is making his debut for Christina Watches-Onfone at South America's biggest race, the Tour de San Luis, also the first time the 22-year-old Dane has raced on the continent. While the talented rider has the pedigree to excel on the climbs he would face on Wednesday's third stage, Guldhammer told Cyclingnews before the start what his role would be in Argentina.
"Today it's all about helping Stefan Schumacher, Michael Rasmussen and Frederik Wilmann to get a result on the climbs," Guldhammer told Cyclingnews, also mentioning that he'd been a bit under the weather thus far at the race. "It's also early in the season so my goals are later on. I'm here for helping and getting some race kilometres in the legs so it's good for me, but it's also nice to help the other guys on the team."
About four-and-a-half hours later Schumacher indeed notched a good result, finishing fourth on the day and moving into third on general classification, 19 seconds down on Alberto Contador.
While results such as victory at the 2009 U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege helped propel Guldhammer into a ProTour contract at 20 years old with HTC-Columbia, the Dane faltered in his one year at that level and rode for the Continental Team Concordia Forsikring - Himmerland squad in 2011.
2012 sees Guldhammer on another Continental squad, the Danish Christina Watches-Onfone, but the decision was a good one for his ambitions and that of the team.
"I've been speaking with Michael [Rasmussen] for four years now, plus for the past 12 years I've been vacationing in the Seychelles and I've been training with him a couple of times.
"The team has developed in the past year so I think there's a good opportunity for me to be on a Danish team with a good staff and a good race schedule so I think that's the right place for me to be right now.
"Hopefully it will be Pro Continental next year, that's the main goal for the team, and I want to stay on it to help them grow. I'm just really happy to be on Christina Watches right now."
Guldhammer's primary target for 2012 is the Tour of Denmark at the end of the season, but there's several other races on the calendar which have captured his attention.
"At the end of the season is the Tour of Denmark, and that's going to be the main goal, but the national championships and several races in Europe plus races in Norway, the Tour of Malta are places I'm looking for results," said Guldhammer. "There are some Belgian races so I need to be in pretty good shape in April and May, then I take a break, and hopefully get ready for a good nationals.
"Maybe I turned pro to young but it was a good experience. Now I'm back for sure mentally right where I used to be. It's nice to do races again and hopefully get a good season."