Christmas presents are distributed on Christmas Eve in Germany, and Christian Knees got the present he wanted the most: a new pro contract. The German national road champion accepted an offer from Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford on December 24.
Knees rode for Team Milram from 2006 to 2010, and when the German team folded at the end of the season, he signed with Pegasus Sports, which looked set to be an important new Australian squad. Unfortunately, the team was unable to get its sponsors and finances in order, and the International Cycling Union refused to give it a ProTeam licence and later a Professional Continental licence. That left the riders scrambling for new contracts in late December.
Knees' manager, Paul de Geyter, contacted Sky and the offer came quickly. “Sky was interested, they still had one place free and Dave Brailsford called me on December 24,” Knees told Radsport-news.com. “I accepted it on the same day.”
He has been training in Mallorca with his new team since January 5. “I am definitely happy that it worked out with Sky. It is a top team and well organised. The team management were already interested in my last season, but then I signed with Pegasus.”
The 29-year-old will find at least one familiar face at his new team. “I rode together with my new directeur sportif Servais Knaven for two years at Milram.”
Knees' contract with the British team is for one year but is he happy with that. “Under the circumstances I couldn't expect more. I now have one year's time to show what I can do. That is healthy stress for me,” he said.
In addition to his national title, Knees won Rund um Köln in 2006 and the overall title in the Bayern Rundfahrt in 2008.