After a year out of the sport, former German national road champion Martin Reimer has returned, signing a contract with the MTN-Qhubeka squad. According to the team’s directeur sportif Jens Zemke, Reimer, 25, can return to the professional ranks.
Reimer turned professional in 2009 with the Cervelo TestTeam. Along with wining the German title he also picked up top-ten places in the Tour of Britain and Paris-Tours. The following season was effected by a serious crash in the Classics and by the time he had returned to full fitness the Cervelo team were well on their way to ending.
He found a solution with Skil-Shimano but the results dried up and the German found himself without a contract for 2012.
“Martin was a promising young boy, winning the German U23 title and he also won the Pro title against all the favorites when there were a lot of strong guys in Germany,” Zemke said.
“He was second in a stage of Critérium du Dauphiné and on the podium at the Tour of Britain. Unfortunately a bad year at Skil-Shimano followed and they told him very late that they would not extend his contract. After one year back in normal life he is hungry to come back and he wants to make the most of this opportunity. He is only 25 years old. We tested him and I am sure that he will bring the team forward with his professional attitude.”
Zemke has worked at and joined the South African project at the end of 2011.
“I was invited exactly one year ago and I got my first impression about the team and the infrastructure. I felt welcomed and I was surprised how professional the team was and that the sponsor support was so enthusiastic. We only have first class brands involved in our project and the story behind it is phenomenal. Through Qhubeka it is time to tell the stories of helping kids in their environment, distributing bikes for kids and having black riders in a professional team and bringing them to a higher level. Having young men from all over the continent in one team is a special thing. There is no other sport that could deliver that.”
The team has attained Pro Continental status for next season, the first African team to do so, but has signed a number of riders with WorldTour experience, including Gerald Ciolek, Sergio Pardilla and Ignatas Konovalovas.
“After coming from teams of this caliber, it will be a challenge to develop the first African Pro team to such a high level. We will go threw a hard time next year but there are so many stories to tell to the outside world. We have more to offer than being successful immediately. In the end we will succeed and we will have huge support.”
“We have to continue building the infrastructure and we have to deal with many things that have never happened before. We are busy creating a professional environment to support the riders. Team Principal Douglas Ryder has the intelligence and the charisma to engage the right people to support everyone.”