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Qhubeka Assos sign Armée and Schmid

Lotto Soudal’s Sander Armée on stage 20 of the 2020 Giro d’Italia
Lotto Soudal’s Sander Armée on stage 20 of the 2020 Giro d’Italia (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Qhubeka Assos continue to build their roster for 2021, and on Monday announced the latest two signings to the South African WorldTour squad: experienced Belgian Sander Armée from Lotto Soudal and 21-year-old Mauro Schmid, who joins from the UCI Continental-level Leopard Pro Cycling team, having previously been with the Swiss Cycling Academy squad.

Armée is a former teammate of current NTT Pro Cycling member Victor Campenaerts, who will continue with the team next season as it becomes Qhubeka Assos following the loss of NTT as main sponsor. The 34-year-old will join following seven seasons at Lotto Soudal, with whom he won a stage at the 2017 Vuelta a España and a stage at this year's Tour Poitou-Charentes.

"I want to use my experience and give the best of myself to achieve all of the team's goals next year," Armée said in a press release on Monday. "It will also be nice to team up again with Victor Campenaerts, as we were in the same team for two years and have also lived in the same village for a number of years, too.

"I've had some personal success in the past, but that won't stop me from looking to improve even further. And so with the passion, knowledge, equipment and race mentality of Team Qhubeka Assos, I want to make this happen," he said.

Qhubeka Assos sports director Gino van Oudenhove added: "I've followed Sander since he was one of the best under-23 riders of his generation. He is a super-experienced professional who has spent most of his career in the service of general classification riders, so we see him as being an excellent fit around Domenico Pozzovivo, Sergio Henao and Fabio Aru.

"Added to that, Sander can also finish it off himself when the opportunity presents itself, as was the case with his latest stage win at this year's Poitou-Charentes," he said.

According to the press release, Mauro Schmid describes himself as a "punchy all-rounder", who won the under-23 road-race title at the 2019 Swiss National Championships, and took 11th place overall at the Tour de Luxembourg and 18th overall at the Czech Tour this season.

"It was always a dream of mine since I started bike racing about 10 years ago, and so this is absolutely a dream come true for me," Schmid said of his step up to WorldTour level with Qhubeka Assos. "I look forward to helping my teammates so that we can achieve the goals that the team has set for itself.

"I'm also very proud to represent the Qhubeka charity, which has a huge influence on people's lives," he said. "I can't wait to find out more and meet the people directly involved to ensure that I use my talents on the bike to the best of my ability to also drive awareness of such a great organisation."

Van Oudenhove said of Schmid: "As a team, we're always on the quest for young, talented and interesting riders that could fit well into either our Continental team or at WorldTour level.

"Mauro is a talent that's been on the radar of many WorldTour teams who are well aware of the good work done by the Swiss Cycling Academy," he continued. "So we feel privileged to have him on board with us, and to watch him develop and to assist him in the next steps to become a valuable WorldTour rider."

The team also reported that, with 25 riders now confirmed, it has two more spots left available on its WorldTour team roster for 2021, with those two riders to be named in the coming weeks.