The Dimension Data team announced today the signing of Lars Bak, 38, on a one-year contract. The 38-year-old comes across from Lotto Soudal after seven seasons with the Belgian team. Before that, Bak rode for HTC-Highroad and Bjarne Riis' Saxo Bank team.
The Danish rider has a Giro d'Italia stage win, stages of the Eneco Tour and Tour de Wallonie and three national titles to his name, but he is mostly known for clocking massive numbers of kilometres at the front of the peloton in a support role for his team. He hopes to continue to do so for fellow Dane Michael Valgren, whose own deal with Dimension Data was announced last week.
"I'm going to support Michael Valgren a rider a lot," Bak said in the press release. "I hope that I can be a mentor, of sorts, to support him and everybody in the team. There are going to be new names in the team and with that comes motivation, fighting for your position and I'm really looking forward to that."
Bak was convinced to spend his 18th season as a professional the South African squad by former teammate Rolf Aldag, who is head of performance for Dimension Data.
"I really would like to perform the role that I've done in previous years as a helper, using my experience to help particularly the young guys in the team and everybody else too while of course giving of my best," Bak said.
"I still feel motivated and I'm really looking forward to getting new glasses, new shoes, new bike, new kit so maybe I'm old; but I'm definitely still excited!"
Dimension Data are at the bottom of the UCI WorldTour teams rankings and have only five wins to their name, two of which are national championships.
Team Principal Douglas Ryder is hoping that the influx of fresh talent like Bak will help the team get to the next level.
"He comes from hugely successful environments and we'll be looking at him to bring those levels of success into our team and push us to greater heights," Ryder said.
In addition to Bak and Valgren, Dimension Data has also signed Roman Kreuziger from Mitchelton-Scott and Danilo Wyss from BMC.
"I'm really pleased with the way that our squad is shaping up for next year; we've signed some high-class talent to complement some of the excellent riders that we have to make the future look very exciting indeed."
Majka, McCarthy and Poljanski renew with Bora-Hansgrohe
Majka was preparing to race in the Vuelta a Espana, where last year he won the stage to Sierra de La Pandera when the news was announced.
"I am very happy to stay with Bora-Hansgrohe another two years," he said in a press release. "The last one and a half years have been far from perfect, but I am very well prepared for the Vuelta, and hope to back on the road to success in Spain.
"I cannot imagine a team which backs its riders more than Ralph Denk and his staff. As a rider, it is very important to work in a professional environment and good atmosphere, both are perfect at Bora-Hansgrohe and the spirit in the team is great."
McCarthy, a versatile rider who has won the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and a stage of the Tour of the Basque Country this season also said he enjoyed the atmosphere in the team.
"I have close friends in this team and feel really comfortable riding here and get a lot of opportunities and chances," McCarthy said. "That last two years I have grown as a cyclist, while the team has established to become a great WorldTeam, therefore I am fortunate enough to stay with the team in the upcoming seasons – onwards and upwards!"
Frankiny signs with Groupama-FDJ
Swiss rider Kilian Frankiny has signed a two-year contract with the Groupama-FDJ squad, the team announced on Monday.
The 24-year-old Swiss rider comes from the BMC Racing Team, where he began his professional career. This season, Frankiny was part of BMC's winning team time trial in the Volta a Valenciana and won the best young rider's jersey.
Frankiny said he was motivated to sign with the French team because of the presence of fellow Swiss riders Steve Morabito and Sebastien Reichenbach in the squad.
"We often train together during the winter and they boasted about the qualities of the structure. When Marc Madiot contacted me, I was the happiest," Frankiny said.
"For me, the hallmark of this team is innovation. They seek to be at the forefront and their efforts have been paying off in recent years.
"I will be there to help Thibaut Pinot, but I could also have my liberties on smaller races. I am flattered by the trust they place in me. I define myself as a pure climber. I come from the same area as Steve Morabito, where there are long, regular climbs. This is the ground where I feel at ease and where I hope to be able to show my qualities."
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