Team Argos-Shimano announced on Monday the re-signing of five riders for the 2014 season. Tobias Ludvigsson, Georg Preidler, Ramon Sinkeldam, Luka Mezgec and Thomas Damuseau all extended their contracts with the Dutch team. General manager Iwan Spekenbrink and director Rudi Kemna expressed their delight and commented that the contract extensions highlighted the team's commitment to helping develop young riders.
"We are very happy with the extension of the contracts of these talented riders," said Spekenbrink. "As these riders represent what our organization is all about: developing young riders into world-class specialists. It is crucial to enter into a long-term commitment in order to see them progress further and contribute to the team's success"
Ludvigsson had his best results early in the season when won the best young rider’s jersey at Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen and finished second overall. He soon followed this with a third-place finish on the general classification and another best young rider’s jersey at the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe - Pays de la Loire.
"Tobias has made some big steps in his development as a GC rider and showed this with strong results in races like the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe and Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen this year" said Kemna.
Sinkeldam had a particularly strong 4 Jours de Dunkerque/Tour du Nord-Pas-de-Calais where he finished on the podium during the first three stages. His consistency was rewarded with third on the overall classification and second in both the best young rider and points classification.
Kemna, however, was most impressed at the 24-year-old's 2013 Paris-Roubaix campaign where he finished 25th, just over three minutes down on Fabian Cancellara. Sinkeldam made his first attempt at Roubaix in 2012 in his first year with Argos Shimano, the year previous he won the Paris-Roubaix Espoirs race whilst racing for the Rabobank Continental Team.
"Ramon has also had his best season as a pro this year; he stood out in Paris-Roubaix, but he also came in third in the GC of the 4 Jours de Dunkerque and sprinted to second place in the Ronde Van Zeeland Seaports," continued Kemna.
Having finished on the podium in eight pro races this year, Mezgec is a developing sprinter seemingly on the cusp of bigger things. Touted as a lead sprinter in his own right, or a possible lead-out man for John Degenkolb and Marcel Kittel, Mezgec is a valuable re-signing for Argos.
"Both Georg and Luka made an impact in their first Grand Tours, with Luka sprinting to multiple third places in the Giro d'Italia and Georg being in the breaks in tough stages in La Vuelta a España – as he was at the world championships as well. Thomas has shown his good all-round abilities during the entire season and won the polka dot jersey in Critérium du Dauphiné.
"Ramon and Luka will be focusing on developing their sprints and classic skills, and Tobias on his all-round abilities in order to progress as a GC rider. Georg and Thomas will be focused on improving their performance in hilly races," added Kemna.
"I am happy that we can work with these riders on a long-term basis, as it is important to have the time to develop their specialties. This year we saw the breakthrough of Warren Barguil, and next year we will hopefully see the same with these diamonds in the rough"
In line with the team's development ethos, Argos-Shimano recently announced that they would create an Under 23 squad for the 2014 season to operate alongside their already established men's and women's teams.
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