SD Worx announced the signing of Hungarian cyclo-cross national champion Kata Blanka Vas on Tuesday. The 19-year-old who has been on the podium of the U23 Cyclo-cross World Championships twice will depart from the Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus squad to join the WorldTeam on June 1 for a two-year contract.
SD Worx manager Danny Stam said Vas will help the team maintain its visibility year round and, and the possibility that the Hungarian will make her country's team for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games for the mountain bike event would be important for sponsor Specialized.
"With Kata Blanka Vas we can profile ourselves during the winter in the cyclo-cross. In addition, she has already achieved good results on the road, when we look at her age," Stam said in a team press release. "That makes her a good addition for the team. Finally, she is also seen as one of the greatest talents on the mountain bike. Therefore, she can qualify herself for the Olympic Games in Tokyo this year. This discipline is important for our material sponsor Specialized. As a result, we will support her to develop in these three disciplines."
Vas impressed in the elite cyclo-cross races for the past two seasons, narrowly missing the podium at the World Cup in Tabor and winning races in Bredene in December and Gullegem in January.
Vas leaves an embattled Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus squad, where manager Marc Bracke has been found guilty of violations of the UCI's Code of Ethics after requesting photos of riders in their underwear.
The Hungarian road champion said she "had a good feeling" after meeting with Stam.
"I think that your feeling is an important advisor when you make a choice for a new team," Blanka Vas said. "The team gives me the freedom to combine the three disciplines. I don't know yet whether cyclo-cross, mountain bike or the road suits me best. I hope to discover that in the coming years.
"In that view, Mathieu van der Poel is a good example for me. He shows that up to a certain age you can combine these three disciplines and thus develop yourself further and grow into the world top of cycling. It feels like an honor to me that champions like Anna van der Breggen and Chantal Blaak, and many others, will soon be my teammates."
Blanka Vas revealed that she caught COVID-19 in March, but said "I feel myself getting stronger every week. In May I have to ride a qualification race in Hungary, after which the Hungarian association will make a choice who will be selected for Tokyo. I am hopeful for this. Then I will focus on cyclo-cross. I hope to compete with the elite women for the podium places in the World Cups next winter."
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