The Katusha team announced today that it has extended the contract with Italian rider Giampaolo Caruso through the 2016 season, while Omega Pharma-Quickstep made a similar deal with Belgian Julien Vermote.
Caruso, who turns 34 this week, has been with the Katusha team since 2010, and has been a key support rider for Joaquim Rodriguez. He will reprise that role at the Vuelta a España next week.
This best individual result was a close fourth place in Liège-Bastogne-Liège this year: although he won a stage in the 2003 Tour Down Under, he was later disqualified for that year after testing positive for nandrolone.
Team manager Viatcheslav Ekimov was happy to keep Caruso on the team. "Giampaolo is a valuable rider in the team’s roster at stage races and Grand Tours, he has repeatedly reaffirmed this. Besides, in the last Liège – Bastogne – Liège he proved that can achieve high personal results. I am happy that Giampaolo will continue his career in our team and I hope we will see realization of his high potential at the Vuelta, which starts already next week."
Vermote, 25, is also a support rider who has been with the Omega Pharma-Quickstep team since 2011. His top result came with an overall victory in the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen in 2012.
"Julien is a guarantee for the squad when it comes to putting himself at the service of his teammates," Omega Pharma-Quickstep CEO Patrick Lefevere said. "His performance at the Giro d'Italia in the last few years and other great performances in support of his teammates during the season are proof of this. Julien is a product of the team, he has grown with us and we are proud of him. He's an eclectic athlete, capable of adapting to different situations. He is still a very young athlete with potential margins for important improvement in the near future."
"I'm very happy that I can stay with this team" Vermote said. "I passed to the pros with this team in 2011 and for me it's a kind of second home, where I know everyone and where we talk about future plans with no problem. I'm happy that I can continue my development process as an athlete in a professional but also familiar atmosphere with people who appreciate my work. I like my role on the team. I can be useful in a sprint for Cavendish like I can help Uran in a major Tour, or pedal for the team on the roads of the classics. Will I get my chance? Maybe yes, but when the conditions are right. I'm still young and I still want to progress to become a better rider."
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