The Vacansoleil team will ride Ridley bikes in 2011 and the team has told Cyclingnews it will announce a new Belgian second sponsor and another major signing next week.
Ridley managing director Jochim Aerts and Luijckx Daan from the Vacansoleil team announced the three-year deal during the official
unveiling of the Belgian bike manufacturer's headquarters near Brussels on Thursday night.
Vacansoleil has already recruited Riccardo Ricco, and two-time Tour of Flanders winner and current Belgian national champion Stijn Devolder. The further high-profile signing is widely expected to be Spain's Ezequiel Mosquera, who is fighting with Vincenzo Nibali for overall victory in the Vuelta a Espana.
"We're growing very quick and have a lot in common with Ridley, so when we talked, we quickly reached a three-year agreement, Daan of the Vacansoleil team told Cyclingnews.
"Next week we're announcing a new Belgian second sponsor and another new rider. Yes, it could be Mosquera but we also have some other possibilities too. We're hopefully of securing a ProTour licence for 2011 but even if we don’t, we feel we've got a strong enough team to secure wild card invitations to the big races."
Ridley supplied bikes to the Katusha team this year but passed up on an option with the Russian team to hook up with the Dutch-based
Vacansoleil team. "It's important for us to stay with a top level team. We had several teams that were interested but we opted to go with Vancansoleil, who are local to us" Ridley's Jochim Aerts told Cyclingnews.
"It's also important for us to have a team with riders from lots of different countries and Vacansoleil will have that even more in 2011.
We started negotiations late but we closed the deal just in time to announce at the presentation of our new headquarters. It's an
extremely exciting moment for us. I think we combine the creativity and traditions of the Italian bike manufacturers with the technology
of the best US companies. That's makes us at the front of the peloton."
During the celebrations for Ridley's new headquarters, guests were able to tour the new facility and see how the company designs,
decorates and builds close to 25,000 bikes a year, all in-house. The huge new warehouse is packed with frames and components, with plans to build a private wind tunnel to help the development of even more aerodynamic frames.
Visitors were allowed to see but not photograph a model of a new fork currently being designed for 2012 that will have an integrated brake hidden behind the fork. Ridley hinted it is also studying the integration of the rear brake into the frame to further improve the
aerodynamics of the frame.
During the evening the six winners of a design competition were awarded complete bikes with the Noah model of fame decorated in their design. Ridley received thousands entries via the internet, with a huge part of those coming via Cyclingnews.
Alistair Brown won the UK competition with a spectacular red design.
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