New UCI ProTeam confirms that it has signed director Dirk Demol and six key support riders for the classics
Trek has confirmed the signings of six riders for 2014, including Belgian champion Stijn Devolder, veteran Yaroslav Popovych, and young Kiwi Jesse Sergent. The team, which will take on the WorldTour racing license of RadioShack-Leopard after year’s end, confirmed that it had added a number of riders from the current RadioShack roster for its first year.
Also joining Trek alongside previously announced hirings Andy and Fränk Schleck, Fabian Cancellara, and Jens Voigt will be Markel Irizar, Gregory Rast, and Hayden Roulston.
“This group of riders has been essential to Fabian’s success in 2012 and especially 2013,” team director Dirk Demol said in a press release. “Their dedication to him was beyond belief. Fabian’s name is the one on the roll of honor of the great classic races that we all love, but these support riders were all ready to sacrifice themselves to the team’s interest. They are warriors, true unsung heroes. I am delighted and proud that we are able to keep this group together. From here on we keep on working hard, toward many more successes.”
With Demol and general manager Luca Guercilena moving to Trek from RadioShack, Devolder said the continuity made the transfer clear for him. Devolder has worked with Demol through much of his professional career, including his first of two Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) victories in 2008.
“It was not a difficult decision to stay with the team. Luca and Dirk have given me back the confidence I lost for a few years when I was going bad. We came to an agreement quickly and I’m really happy to stay aboard this team,” Devolder said. “I had two goals laid out this winter: to be a sound rider again in the classic races and then to win the Belgian title. Now I’ve ticked off both boxes. My ambition for the next years is the same: being a key support rider for Fabian in the classics and then pick a couple of personal goals later on in the season.”
Trek signed Irizar and Rast to three-year deals that will lock them up through 2016. Popovych’s contract will have him in Trek colors through 2015. The team did not confirm the contract terms for Devolder, Roulston, or Sergent.
“There’s not a lot to say, honestly. I’m not a man that likes many changes,” said Rast. “We were the world’s No. 1 classics team in 2013 and we have the potential to remain the same in the coming years.
“Fabian and I go way back. We raced against each other when we were juniors. He’s one of the greatest classics riders in the history of our sport and guys like me can achieve greatness too, by supporting him.”
Trek Sports marketing manager Simon Thompson pointed to the newly assembled supporting cast as a key component in the team’s success out of the gates.
“The combination of Dirk, Fabian, and all these guys together make this the World’s most formidable classics team,” said Simpson. “Only one guy gets to cross the line first, but it’s not possible to win the world’s toughest one-day races without the best team and support around you. This group embodies everything that is great about the Trek Factory Racing Team; they are passionate and committed to go to war for one another and the success of the team.”