Jumbo-Visma has confirmed that it has signed Milan Vader to the team for the next three years, looking to develop the Dutch mountain biker on the road where it can see his explosiveness uphill delivering strength into the middle mountains.
The 25-year-old also plans to continue mountain bike racing, with the ultimate target of a medal in the discipline at the Paris Olympic Games. Jumbo-Visma said at this point they are likely to separate his season with one mountain bike block and one road block.
“We have talked about the path for the coming years,” said Vader in a statement from Jumbo-Visma. “Racing on the road is relatively new for me. I used to race on the road, but not very much. I am very much looking forward to it.
“I like that everything is focused on performance at Team Jumbo-Visma. I expect to learn a lot and to develop myself as an athlete. A big goal will be the Olympic Games in Paris. I hope to win a medal on the mountain bike. Team Jumbo-Visma is the perfect option to help me with that."
Vader, in tenth, was the top placed mountain bike rider from his nation at the Tokyo Olympic Games after Dutch teammate Mathieu van der Poel crashed on a drop after a ramp that had been in place during training was removed. Vader also placed tenth in the World Championships.
Van der Poel and new Jumbo-Visma teammate Wout van Aert, are two prime examples of riders that have found success after crossing over to the road from other disciplines and, while Vader's ability to perform in a WorldTour peloton may be an unknown, Jumbo-Visma certainly didn’t sign the rider out of the blue. He already works with team performance coach Tim Heemskerk and has been on team training camp as well as undergone physical and personality tests.
“We see a lot of potential in him,” Merijn Zeeman, sportive director of Jumbo-Visma said. “He is physically extremely talented. He is technically very good on the bike. Also, his personality appeals to us very much. Milan is someone who is very willing to invest in himself and can work well together.”
"We think his qualities lie in up to and including the middle mountains," Zeeman said. "He is explosive uphill. In such a race program we want to teach him things. How quickly does he pick it up, riding in a peloton, a World Tour peloton? That is something that we still have to see.”
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