Smukulis signs with HTC-Highroad

Latvian rewarded with a spot on international squad

Team HTC-Highroad has announced the signing of 23-year-old Gatis Smukulis, bringing the squad's rider tally up to 24.

The Latvian rider is a former winner of the U23 Ronde Van Vlaanderen (2008) and comes to the team after a two-year stint with the AG2R-La Mondiale squad.

This season he scored podium places in both the time trial and road race at the Latvian national championships and it's for his all-round ability that HTC-Highroad hopes to continue the rider's development and integrate him into its Classics lineup.

"Gatis is a very talented all around professional who likes the spring classics very much," said team manager Rolf Aldag. "He has earned respect in the peloton by [riding] long breakaways and is a very loyal teammate who helps his team leader.

"We believe he has great potential and we want to help him to discover how far he can go."

Smukulis said he is pleased to join the team. "I am grateful that I was recognised, and will prove myself in the best way I can. I will work with all my heart to show my membership in this strong and organised team."

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