The Skil-Shimano team has been handed the first of three wild cards for the Vattenfall Cyclassics (Germany, July 30; formerly the HEW-Cyclassics-Cup - Hamburg). The Dutch-based pro team has achieved good results this season helped by Maarten Tjallingii's overall victory in the Tour of Belgium and a stage win by Paul Martens in the Tour of Luxembourg. Last weekend, members of the team finished second and fifth in the Dutch and Japanese Championships.
Race organizer, Frank Bertling, said, "First and foremost, by allocating wild cards we show that the UCI ProTour is in no way a rigid league that cannot be accessed from below. Furthermore, we are delighted that a young yet exceptionally professional Pro Continental team like Skil-Shimano will be starting the Vattenfall Cyclassics, which can throw up a sporting surprise from outside the 20 ProTeams."
Skil-Shimano team managers Iwan Spekenbrink and Arend Scheppink said in a joint statement, "We are delighted with the invitation to the Vattenfall Cyclassics for several reasons: first, the race is one of the highlights of the season for us; second, the wild card underscores our efforts to establish ourselves internationally and if nothing else it is recognition of the work we have put in."
The Skil-Shimano team is made up of 21 riders from the Netherlands, Japan, China and Germany.