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Toms Skujins signs with Trek-Segafredo

U.S.-based Latvian Toms Skujins will ride for Trek-Segafredo in 2018 following three years with Cannondale-Drapac.

The deal began to take shape during the Colorado Classic in August, according to Skujins, and was all but set in stone by the end of the Vuelta a España.

Skujins, 26, is known as an adept breakaway racer. He has two stage wins at the Amgen Tour of California, both out of breakaways.

“The [directors] have been pushing for me because they like the way I race, and they’re building a young team, a lot of new riders,” Skujins said. “They want to make the races exciting.”

That aggressive style was attractive to his new team.

“We have been following Skujins for a while now because we like the way he races — he is not afraid to dig deep and race hard,” Trek general manager Luca Guercilena said in a statement.

The retirement of Trek’s GC star Alberto Contador opened the team up to a renewal of sorts, and Guercilena has signed a number of young, aggressive riders. TT specialist Ryan Mullen joins the team from Cannondale-Drapac. Grand tour stage winner Gianluca Brambilla steps over from Quick-Step, and young Kiwi Alex Frame comes up from the JLT-Condor team.

“My search got more serious when the future of Cannondale was unsure,” Skujins said, referring to the two-week period in which team CEO Jonathan Vaughters sought to fill a $7 million gap in funding. EF Education First eventually confirmed it will be Slipstream’s new title sponsor for the coming season and beyond.

Beyond his stage winning exploits, Skujins hit the deck while riding in a breakaway in California this year, suffering a concussion and spurring a debate over the proper response to visible head injuries in pro racing.

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