Under-23 world time trial champion Mads Würtz Schmidt will ride for Katusha in 2017 and 2018 after signing a two-year contract with the team. The Dane makes the step up to WorldTour level after spending the 2016 season with Continental outfit Team Virtu Pro–Veloconcept.
"This is really a dream come true. I felt from the beginning that I should not sign immediately after my world title. It was good to wait for another year. When Team Katusha knocked on my door, I felt it was the right moment and the right team. It is all about the right choice. It immediately felt good to me. I am proud to be part of one of the best WorldTour teams," Würtz Schmidt said in a statement released by the team.
Würtz Schmidt first showed his ability on the international stage when he claimed the rainbow jersey in the junior men's time trial at the 2011 Worlds in Copenhagen at the age of just 17. The following season, he won the junior Paris-Roubaix, before joining Continental team Cult Energy in 2013.
After victory in the under-23 time trial at the Richmond Worlds last Autumn, Würtz Schmidt went on to enjoy a fine 2016 campaign, winning a brace of Danish under-23 titles, the general classification of the Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux and the time trial stage of the Tour of Denmark, where he finished third overall.
Katusha's roster already features one of Würtz Schmidt's predecessors on the under-23 world time trial roll of honour, 2012 champion Anton Vorobyev, as well as the 2014 under-23 road race champion, Sven Erik Bystrom. Würtz Schmidt will join fellow countryman Michael Mørkøv in the Katusha line-up.
"I have a lot of expectations. Michael Mørkøv has told me how good the atmosphere is in this team. I will feel at home very soon, he assured me. The fact that more young guys are coming makes me comfortable, too," he said.
Earlier this month, Katusha announced the signing of three-time world time trial champion Tony Martin, and general manager Viatcheslav Ekimov said that his team's transfer campaign has not yet concluded.
"More new signings will follow in the near future but I can only say that we are really thrilled with Mads coming to our team," Ekimov said. "We believe in him and will give him time to grow. By winning Paris-Roubaix as a junior but also by winning stage races as well as top time trials, he has shown he is a rider capable of everything. He will come to the team with the right teammates and staff around him."