Milram signs Nerz on two-year deal

German youngster up to ProTour in 2010, Milram still working to extend sponsorship

German youngster Dominik Nerz will race with Team Milram in 2010 after he signed a two-year contract with the team in Switzerland last week. The 20-year-old has ridden for Milram's Continental feeder team in 2009 and will make the step up to ProTour competition next season.

"The change to the senior team is the right step at the right time," said Nerz. "As a young rider, I will be able to continue to develop. There's a mixture of veterans and young riders in the team. I'm looking forward to being able to ride alongside the experienced professionals."

Nerz began his professional career in 2008 with Team Ista. His biggest result came at this year's Giro della Valle d'Aosta Mont Blanc, where he won the final mountain stage of the race.

Nerz has represented Germany twice in the Under-23 World Championship road race for the past two years. On Saturday he finished 20th in Mendrisio, the best finish by a German rider.

"For us, as the only German ProTour team, we see it as our duty to develop the young German riders," said Milram Manager Gerry van Gerwen. "We have long observed Dominik Nerz and I think that we have to give a chance to such a talent. Athletically he fits in the team well and we feel he will continue to develop under professional conditions."

Nerz could be the final rider to make the transition from the Milram Continental team to the senior squad. The principal sponsor of both teams, Nordmilch AG, announced in July that it had extended its contract with the ProTour squad through 2010, but will cease sponsorship of the lower-tier formation at the end of the current season.

Milram confirmed to Cyclingnews on Monday that International Cycling Union (UCI) regulations required them to sign Nerz on a two-year deal, although the second year of the contract will depend on the team's ability to find ongoing sponsorship.

"Nerz will be a neo-pro in the ProTour, all of whom must have a two-year contract under UCI rules," said Milram's Press Officer Max Biermann. "If the team continues for two years, the contract will be good for that period, however, if the team stops after one year, then the contract be negated too."

Biermann said that Milram's team management were working to secure the team's future beyond 2010, though no new or existing sponsors have been confirmed to date.

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