Harry Tanfield set for Qhubeka Assos move

POITIERS FRANCE AUGUST 30 Harry Tanfield of The United Kingdom and Team Ag2R La Mondiale during the 33rd Tour PoitouCharentes en Nouvelle Aquitaine 2020 Stage 4 a 1646km stage from Thenezay to Poitiers TourPoitouChtes on August 30 2020 in Poitiers France Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Harry Tanfield in action at the 2020 Tour Poitou-Charentes en Nouvelle Aquitaine (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Harry Tanfield is staying in the WorldTour for the 2021 season, having signed a contract with Qhubeka Assos after leaving AG2R La Mondiale.

The 26-year-old Briton had spent 2020 at the French squad and was due to move to Continental level for next season with Ribble Weldtite, with spots in the WorldTour at a premium due to the tightening in the transfer market.

However, Cyclingnews understands that Qhubeka Assos, which was confirmed to be continuing as a team with new sponsors after Tanfield had agreed his move to Ribble Weldtite, will add him to their burgeoning roster.

The signing was later confirmed by the team on Wednesday afternoon, with the added announcements of the arrivals of Connor Brown from the team's NTT Continental squad and Emil Vinjebo from Riwal Securitas. 

In a statement released on Wednesday morning, Ribble Weldtite confirmed that they had allowed Tanfield to rescind his contract and stay in the WorldTour.

"We were always looking to support Harry to step back up, and we are delighted that this has happened a bit sooner than expected. The team have actively assisted in ensuring Harry was able to pursue any WorldTour leads."

Tanfield, whose deal at Qhubeka Assos will mean he moves to his third WorldTour team after Katusha-Alpecin and AG2R La Mondiale, thanked Ribble Weldtite for their support.

"I can't thank the team at Ribble Weldtite enough," he said. "They provided assurances and security to enable me to race in 2021 and have been 100 per cent supportive in working with me and my new team to enable this transition as efficiently as possible. I wish the team all the best for the 2021 season."

Tanfield has one pro win to his name so far during his career, taking stage 3 of the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire from the breakaway for Canyon Eisberg. In 2020, he made his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España, making the break of the day on stage 4.

Brown and Vinjebo

Confirming Tanfield's arrival on Wednesday, Qhubeka Assos also announced the signings of Brown and Vinjebo. 

Brown, who holds dual South African and New Zealand citizenship, steps up from the team's Continental feeder squad. The 22-year-old was third on stage 7 of this year's U23 Giro and had a taste of the elites when he represented the WorldTour squad at the Giro della Toscana and Coppa Sabatini. 

"I’ve been dreaming of riding in the WorldTour for as long as I can remember and it’s finally a reality," Brown said. "My two years with the Continental team have been very special, and the perfect platform from which to now take the next step in my career."

Vinjebo, meanwhile, joins from Danish ProTeam Riwal Securitas, who are enduring sponsorship issues of their own and are unsure of continuing into 2021. The 26-year-old Dane joined Riwal in 2019 and placed third at Tro Bro Leon and fourth at the Drôme Classic. 

"This contract is exactly what I have been training towards for years," he said. "It has been a childhood dream for me since I started cycling as a little kid."

Vinjebo will link up with compatriot Lars Michaelsen, and the directeur sportif gave his take on the three new signings. 

"In Emil we’ve got a guy who demonstrates resilience when things are tough – highlighted by some of his personal results – but even more so when riding for the team. This is a big chance for him now to show those capabilities on the WorldTour," Michaelsen said.

"Harry has the experience at this level now to take the next step and has scored some really good results in the past. His track experience and time trialling ability will bring an added dimension to our outfit and I look forward to seeing how he will get on in our environment.

"While I am just so pleased for Connor. Him taking the step up to our WorldTour team is once again the confirmation that the system we have in place is working and we continue to offer young riders their next opportunity in their career. He’s had some very good performances and as a former junior team pursuit world record holder has a good 'engine', so let’s see what he can now produce at the highest level."

Qhubeka Assos now have 17 riders under contract for 2021 as the team rebuilds, having so far confirmed the re-signings of Victor Campenaerts, Nic Dlamini and Giacomo Nizzolo since the team was saved in mid-November. Simon Clarke ( (EF Pro Cycling), Dmitri Claeys (Cofidis) and Lukasz Wisniowski (CCC Team) are among the new signings at the South African team.

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