Argos Shimano shores up 2014 women's roster

Team Argos Shimano has extended the contracts of Kirsten Wild and Lucy Garner as well as signing three new riders for the 2014 season. Wild extended her contract for one year whilst Garner will call Argos-Shimano home for another two. Maaike Polspoel, Floortje Mackaij and Kyara Stijns all join Argos-Shimano for the first time on two year contracts.

Wild has 13 victories to her name this season and is looking to continue targeting classics and sprint stages next year.

"I feel really comfortable with this team, and that is one of the reasons that I re-signed for another year," said Wild. "I also appreciate the way the team works, with guidance and a plan, and with the will to improve and to create better riders and I see that I can still improve myself.

"For next year I will focus again on the classics and on sprints in the big stage races. We will make a dedicated race plan that will allow us to get results as a team."

With 50 pro wins at just 30 years of age, it is little surprise that Argos coach Ruud Verhagen believes Wild "is currently the best sprinter in the peloton."

"We are very pleased that Kirsten will be part of our team for another season," said Verhagen. "Kirsten is currently the best sprinter in the peloton, and we will support her as well as we can and build a strong lead-out team around her for the sprints. She also brings a lot of experience to our team, which our young squad values highly."

Garner came into the season aiming to develop and get stronger but the 19-year-old former world junior champion outdid herself with a stage win and third overall at the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup in June.

"My main focus was on developing as a rider last year, without expecting great results but just becoming a stronger rider through training and racing. I am looking forward to continuing this process," explained Garner.

Polspoel was originally an inline speed skater and moved to cycling at 18 years-of-age. She rode with the Topsport Vlaanderen women's team from 2008 to 2012 and this year she raced with the Sengers Ladies Cycling Team. Now 24 years old, Polspoel is a versatile all-rounder who Verhagen is glad to have on board.

"Maaike is a great professional and reached the podium in big races this year," said Verhagen. "She is an all-round rider and can be an important factor in our team by supporting the sprints and pursuing her own opportunities."

Mackaij and Stijns, both 17 years old, are making their transitions from the junior to elite ranks and will be part of Argos-Shimano's ongoing development.

"Floortje started cycling two years ago, and we will support her in her efforts to become a better rider and to make the step to the top level," explained Verhagan. "We will give Kyara the opportunity to develop herself as a climber and as a rider for the harder courses. We will bring her along step by step and give her time to grow."


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