A number of WorldTour teams held talks with Uijtdebroeks after he soloed to victory at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and won a haul of prestigious other races during the summer of 2020. Uijtdebroeks will ride for the German-based Team Auto Eder in 2021, which is a feeder team for Bora-Hansgrohe. Then, like Evenepoel, he will step up to WorldTour level in 2022 without racing at Under-23 level.
"After winning Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, I had contact with pretty much all the WorldTour team,” Uijtdebroeks revealed, telling Het Nieuwsblad he personally negotiated his contract with help from his family but not an agent.
“There were different approaches to making the move to the pro ranks and also towards my development. With Bora-Hansgrohe I immediately had a good feeling. They don't just look at young riders physiologically, but they also take a very individual approach to their riders. In the end, I was also convinced by the fact that Team Auto Eder will work towards integrating me into the Bora-Hansgrohe structure.”
Uijtdebroeks revealed that he opted for Bora-Hansgrohe after being impressed by Performance Manager Dan Lorang, who will now coach him. He has no fixed career goals for his four-year contact, with his development and future career depending on how much he grows in his final teenage years. He is already 1.83m tall and has grown five centimetres in the last six months.
"It's no secret that everyone was interested in Cian. His results are very good, yet his performance data is particularly convincing,” Bora-Hansgrohe team manager Ralph Denk said.
"I must say that I am personally highly impressed by Cian's demeanour and his very productive cooperation with his stepfather. We all quickly found out that we operated on the same wavelength. That was certainly one reason for him to choose us.
“The second is that with Team Auto Eder, we will have an international junior team from 2021 onwards, and will thus be able to introduce talent into the Bora-Hansgrohe structure at an early stage. I'm already quite excited about where our common journey will take us. But we are not pursuing any particular short-term goals with Cian, instead he will be given time to develop in a less pressurised environment."
Jumbo-Visma, Team DSM, Deceuninck-Quick-Step and Israel Start-Up Nation all showed interest in signing Uijtdebroeks. He attended Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s summer training camp in the Italian Dolomites but opted to take a different path to fellow Belgian and possible future rival Evenepoel.
“It was a very difficult decision, because I also had a very good feeling about those other teams. All those teams are top notch, but at Bora-Hansgrohe I was convinced from the first meeting,” he said.
“In July I did an internship with Deceuninck - Quick -Step and I then talked to Remco about my plans, but I did not necessarily ask for advice. I prefer to follow my own path. I am not supposed to want to copy his trajectory one hundred percent. Certainly not."
Uijtdebroeks is still at school but will join the Team Auto Eder for a cross-country skiing camp in late December and then join the professional riders for more traditional training camps in the new year.
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