Ciolek signs for MTN-Qhubeka
Gerald Ciolek (Tim de Waele/TDW Sport)
Cape Town - Team MTN-Qhubeka has announced the signing of Gerald Ciolek. The German is the latest rider to join the team after Jay Thomson and Ignatas Konovalovas.
Ciolek, although only 25, has already had an accomplished career, which includes being a former Under-23 World Road Champion and a stage winner in the Vuelta a España. He has also been second twice in the Tour de France, once on the Champs-Élysées.
He joins the team from World Tour outfit Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
“This is our biggest signing for the team and for our European program,” Team Principal Douglas Ryder said.
“To have a previous U23 World Champion, German National Champion, stage winner in the Vuelta and a rider that has twice come 2nd in stages in the Tour de France is fantastic for Team MTN-Qhubeka. Our team is all about raising awareness to the cycling talent in Africa and to mobilising people on bicycles through MTN-Qhubeka and Gerald’s signing will go a long way in helping raise the awareness to our project and in winning races. We are incredibly excited about the future.”
In 2005 Ciolek became the youngest rider to win the German National Road Championships at 18-years-old. He will have a two fold role on the team, to gain results like he did this year by winning a stage in Volta ao Algarve and to help nurture the younger riders.
“When I heard about this project I thought it was a really good idea. It’s a smaller team than what I am used to but I will be well protected and have only heard good things about the team and management. I hope to do well in the Spring Classics and look forward to getting back to my best,” commented Ciolek.
Team MTN-Qhubeka is in the process of registering as a UCI Professional Continental team, which will be a first for Africa. Ciolek’s signing is an excellent stepping-stone in the teams dream to be the first African team to ride the Tour de France.
“The signing of Gerald Ciolek is a significant step forward for Team MTN Qhubeka and our aspirations of competing successfully as a Pro-Continental team in 2013. The composition of the team is coming along nicely and we look forward welcoming all the newly signed riders to Team MTN Qhubeka as soon as the team is complete” commented MTN GM: Brand and Communications, Ryan Gould.