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Skil-Shimano to remain as Pro Continental in 2011

Roger Kluge got his professional career started at Milram.

Roger Kluge got his professional career started at Milram. (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)

Skil-Shimano have confirmed that they will remain as a Pro Continental team for 2011 and not aim for the Pro Tour ranks. The team will look to strengthen their roster for next season in a bid to get over the disappointment of missing out on grand tour selection this year.

Along with securing a number of their current stars for next year, the team have been strongly linked with Milram's Roger Kluge and Johannes Fröhlinger, with an announcement rumoured to be coming in the coming days.

"I can neither confirm or deny those signings," said Iwan Spekenbrink, the team's manager.

"However I can confirm that we'll continue as a team until at least the end of 2012 and we've got great commitment from our sponsors so that we can grow.

"We believe it's best to grow in line with the values in our team. We want to build step-by-step and so it's best to stay Pro Continental. It also won't make a massive difference when it comes to selection for historical races which are important for us."

Skil have had a mixed year to date. Despite racking up a number of wins they missed out on selection for both the Tour de France and the up-coming Vuelta. However, according to Spekenbrink, the squad won't be tempted into signing big name riders in their pursuit of trying to guarantee places in the biggest races. Instead they will look to recruit riders that fit both their standard of ethics as well as show promise for future development. Earlier this season they talked to Andre Greipel but the German signed with Lotto and the team decided to pursue other targets.

"We built the team on a certain criteria and we want to stick with that. Obviously being invited to the Tour and big races are important as those events have huge publicity and we have to give something back to our sponsors."

"This year we'd originally had the Tour and the Vuelta on our wish list. Of course missing out was a disappointment but on the other hand it wasn't totally unexpected. I think the organisers were fair and their choices were limited. We've had rules and a system in place since 2008 and there were also a number of new teams so in the end there were few spots."

"But we'll continue to stay with our philosophy and we've had signals from organisers that they understand and appreciate what we're trying to do."

Should they sign for the team, Kluge and Fröhlinger would signify relative coups for the Dutch team. Both have Tour de France experience and are without contracts for next year.

"We're looking to sign one more experienced rider as well as some more promising talents but when it comes to recruitment first we look at the rider's potential, but he should be able to improve within our team and he must have a good background concerning ethics."

"Some riders have really stepped up and proven what they can do but missing out on a grand tour has been a gap in our possible exposure. We have to make the team stronger but within our philosophy. Organisers look for reliability and for teams that can prove they can be competitive."

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