Double world champion Susanne Ljungskog will join a reinforced MTN Energade women's team for 2010, the squad announced. The Swede and Danish racer Trine Schmidt come to the team from Team Flexpoint, which will not continue next year. South Africans Robyn De Groot and An-li Pretorius are also new to the squad.
Ljungskog told the Göteborgs-Posten that she would continue to reside in Göteborgs, but will attend the team's camp in Johannesburg at the start of 2010 for a month. The four-time Olympian has suffered from a medical condition called hemachromatosis, an unhealthy accumulation of iron in the blood, but now has her condition under control and is back to full strength.
"I feel much better, my iron levels have gone down and I can train properly. It feels great."
Continuing with the the team is South African Carla Swart, a US Collegiate champion in track, road, cyclo-cross and mountain bike and winner of the Tour of the Gila criterium this year.
"We are very excited about the prospects that our women's team will have for local and international races in the 2010 season," said Bernard Pieters, senior sponsorship manager at MTN South Africa. "Strengthening the team with four quality signings reflects the commitment of the team to increase the awareness of Africa in the cycling world and showcasing some of the best talent we have on the continent."
"We have a clear development pathway for our athletes that include world-class scientific training, international mentorship, and competition. The signing of Susanne and Trine to our team is the most exciting news in the history of women's cycling in Africa. We look forward to taking our South African talent to the next level in 2010 Commonwealth Games, World Championships, and on to London 2012." said Dr Carol Austin of Activeworx, Team MTN's coach.
The team is aiming for a podium finish at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India and a top 20 in the World Championships in Australia.
MTN Energade for 2010
Marissa van der Merwe, 32
Carla Swart, 22
Chrissie Viljoen, 32
Mariske Strauss, 19
Robyn de Groot, 27
An-li Pretorius, 22
Lylanie Lauwrens, 26
Susanne Ljunkskog, Sweden, 34
Trine Schmidt, Denmark, 21
Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world - twitter.com/cyclingnewsfeed.