Giant-Alpecin re-signs Fröhlinger, Haga, Ludvigsson and Stamsnijder
Giant-Alpecin announced today that it has extended the contracts of four current riders. Returning with the Dutch WorldTour squad are Johannes Fröhlinger, Chad Haga, Tobias Ludvigsson and Tom Stamsnijder.
Fröhlinger and Haga each signed two-year extensions, while Ludvigsson and Stamsnijder each added one more year.
Fröhlinger and Ludvigsson have been with the team since it was a Pro Continental outfit in 2011, with the latter coming on board as a stagiaire that year. Stamsnijder joined the team in 2012, the team's last year on the Pro Continental level. Haga joined the team in 2014.
Team Giant-Alpecin coach Rudi Kemna said both Fröhlinger and Stamsnijder are core members of the team.
“[Fröhlinger's] knowledge and experience are valuable to us, and we are confident in his further development as a road captain," Kemma said, adding that Stamsnijder is a rider the team can depend on. "He is a strong support rider, and we are pleased to have him on the team for another year."
Kemma said Haga has progressed nicely during his first two years with the team.
"He will play an important support role while also having the chance to achieve some results of his own," the coach said.
Ludvigsson had an up-and-down year with the team in 2015, but Kemma said Giant-Alpecin is confident he can reach a more stable level and play an important support role in the difficult races.
"With his strong time trialing skills we aim to develop his GC capacities as well," Kemma said.
Fröhlinger, a 30-year-old veteran of 12 Grand Tours, said he is looking forward to two more years with the team.
"After five years together, the team knows me and I know the way we work, and my role will be to help guide the young guys," he said.
Haga said his first two years with the team went well and he's excited to have another two years in an environment that provides challenges and opportunities.
"Team Giant-Alpecin has shown great success in the long-term development of riders, and I'm proud that the team sees so much potential in me," the 27-year-old American said. "I look forward to seeing what the coming seasons will bring."
Tobias Ludvigsson competes for Sweden in the World Championship time trial.
Tinkoff-Saxo signs U23 European champion Erik Baška for 2016
The 21-year-old rode for Czech Continental team AWT-GreenWay the past two seasons and is known for his fast finishes.
Sagan said he was "doubly pleased" to have a fellow Slovakian, whom he called a "strong serious rider," join the team.
"His recent victory at the U23 European championships speaks for itself, and I look forward to welcoming him to the team," Sagan said. "I think Erik is an example of the serious work at a grassroots level carried out in Slovakia and I am proud of him."
In 2015, Baška's wins include a stage at the Tour of Berlin and the Carpathian Couriers U23 race. His biggest result came at the European championships, where he took the win from a bunch sprint.
According to a statement released by the team, Baška started out cycling at the age of 14 and joined the strongest Slovakian team, Dukla Trencin in 2013. In 2015 he moved to AWT Greenway. Baška is a three-time Slovakian U23 individual time trial champion and won three UCI races in 2014.
"This is obviously a unique chance for me and I couldn't be any happier," he said. "I am given the opportunity to join one of the strongest teams in the peloton and support the World Champion, Peter Sagan. This doesn't happen every day and I will do my best to demonstrate I'm worth the faith they showed in me."
"I think that my fast sprint is one of my strengths and I would be delighted and honoured to support Peter Sagan in his races," Baška said. "However, I will show the same determination and dedication wherever and whenever the team needs me."
Tinkoff-Saxo director Steven de Jongh said Baška's European championship confirmed his talent.
"He is a fast sprinter and I think he could be a good support for Peter Sagan," De Jongh said. "Similar to the other young riders that will join Tinkoff Team next year, he will have the best training and racing program to progress."
Erik Baška wins the U23 European Championship.
Wanty-Groupe Gobert re-signs Veuchelen and Minnard
Veuchelen, 37, will ride his 13th professional season with the team after moving over from Vacansoleil – DCM in 2014. Next season will also be Minnaard's third with Wanty-Groupe Gobert after starting his pro career there in 2014.
"Next year I hope to further improve in the overall classifications," said the 26-year old Dutchman. "This season it already went much better than last year."
Minnaard finished 28th in the Tour de Suisse this year and was 21st in the Tour of Austria.
"Those are races I really like and Wanty-Groupe Gobert gives me the opportunity to ride there," he said. "I also hope to do the Ardennes races again to show my aggressive way of racing. That's the way I love to race and Wanty-Groupe Gobert encourages me to do so."
Veuchelen is a valuable domestique who abandoned only seven times out of 89 races days.
"I am an all-round rider and a teamplayer," the Flemish rider said. "I believe that we have a very well balanced and stronger team next year. My role will be to be a good teammate and motivate the (younger) guys but also take time to talk with them and help them where I can."
"I want to be where the teams needs me but don't get me wrong; I would love to win another race myself too if I get the chance."
Veuchelen said he'll also look for his own opportunities.
With the contract extensions of Minnaard and Veuchelen the team now has 18 confirmed riders for 2016.
Marco Minnard will return to Wanty-Groupe Gobert Pro Continental team next year.