Quick-Step Floors have moved quickly to ensure they don’t lose rising star Enric Mas anytime soon, by adding a year to his current contract. Mas, who stepped up from the team’s development squad Klein Constantia this season, was already signed up to the team until the end of next season, but will now be with them until at least 2019.
"I am really happy to have extended my contract with the team," Mas said in a press release. "It is my first season as a pro and no doubt I felt the levelling up, but I think I can be happy with how things have played out so far and I hope that if I keep progressing like now, step by step, at one point in the future I will be able to stay with the very best riders in the mountains.
"My hope for the years that lie ahead of me is to be able to ride for the general classification in a Grand Tour, but I am still young, and right now my focus is to progress as a rider and learn as much as possible, and on this team I have the best conditions for just that."
Mas turned pro with an impressive reputation from a very successful 2016 season. He has gradually settled into his new place in the Quick-Step Floors team as the season has progressed, with 14th at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco a notable early-season result. Since then, he has finished 14th overall at the Tour of California and enjoyed a strong Vuelta a Burgos, where he finished second on the final stage to move into second overall, 40 seconds down on winner Mikel Landa.
He is currently making his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España and finished third on stage 6 into Sagunt after making it into the early break.
"The squad is incredible, this year has been overwhelming with so many victories, and of course I want to contribute to that and dream about getting great results with Quick-Step Floors in the future," said Mas. "I was happy with my performance in Burgos, that I could be up there with the strongest in the mountains and finish on the podium, was something that really boosted my morale.
"My first Grand Tour has been a fantastic experience so far. On Thursday, I was in the breakaway, on a stage with a lot of very hard climbs, but my legs felt good, and I finished on the podium; this result and the sensations it had given me a lot of confidence and motivation ahead of the next two tough weeks, where I look forward to continue the learning process, as well as helping my teammates."
With the losses of David de la Cruz to Team Sky and Dan Martin to UAE Team Emirates at the end of this season, securing Mas is important for Quick-Step Floors and their stage race ambitions. Team manager Patrick Lefevere is understandably happy to have kept the 22-year-old on board for another season.
"Enric really impressed us this season, and we are delighted that he will continue to be part of the Quick-Step Floors family," said Lefevere. "He came aboard less than 12 months ago, but he already made a spectacular progression, which only underlines his talent and ambition. Being still very young and in the first part of his career, we don't know how far he can go and what are his limits, but now that he has signed a new contract with the team we will discover that in the years to come and I'm convinced that he has what it takes to amaze us all."
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