Kasper Asgreen joins Quick-Step Floors
The U23 European ITT Champion will debut for the team next week, at Scheldeprijs.
Quick-Step Floors has signed Danish talent Kasper Asgreen until the end of 2019, making the 23-year-old the first rider to join the team this season and the 28th member of the squad. Coming across from Continental outfit Virtu Cycling, Kasper has enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2017, when in the space of just two weeks he claimed the gold medal in the time trial race at the U23 European Championships on home soil and scored an astounding solo win from a day-long break on the opening stage of the prestigious Tour de l'Avenir.
"To sign a contract with this team, the winningest for six years in a row and one of the most established on the World Tour, is a major thing, hard to believe it is actually happening. Like every young rider who is passionate about cycling, I started dreaming about becoming a pro when I raced my first race in 2009. I was 14 years old back then and having made it into the pro scene, on this team, is really unbelievable", an emotional Kasper said after putting pen to paper.
Last winter, the Dane joined Quick-Step Floors for the second reunion in Calpe, where he trained with the pros and underwent several tests which made an impression on the team's staff, as did the sixth place he took earlier this season at the demanding Trofeo Laigueglia, ahead of more experienced riders.
"I had my first meeting with Quick-Step Floors on their training camp in January, when I got to know many of the riders and staff behind the team, which left me with a really nice experience and impression, but I didn't dare to dream it could lead to a contract. I have worked hard to get here, but now the real job starts and I can't wait to get going, meet the whole team again and prove my worth."
Asgreen will make his debut for Quick-Step Floors at Scheldeprijs (April 4th), Flanders' oldest race, and he is already looking forward to the moment he'll pin a number for his first pro race: "It was like a dream when a Quick-Step Floors mechanic called me to ask about my bike measurements as they were preparing three new Specialized bikes for me that needed to be ready for Scheldeprijs, because I hadn't even realized how soon it will be before I am in the Quick-Step Floors jersey."
"No doubt it will be a big challenge to enter the World Tour but I am fortunate that I will join a team with some very experienced riders, who are used to winning a lot of cycling races, riders that can help me navigate and grow in the sport, so I one day hopefully will win many cycling races too. If I am allowed to fantasize about races I would like to win the most, it would be, without any doubt, Paris-Roubaix and the World ITT Championships. Those are my two greatest dreams, but for now my goal is to develop as much as possible and see where that will take me. But I know I wouldn't be here today, talking about this, without Virtu Cycling, that's why I want to say a big thank you to the entire team and staff for helping me develop and for the opportunities they gave me in all these years."
"Kasper came into our attention a long time ago and we followed him ever since. Not only his results and talent caught our attention, but also the mentality and professionalism that he displayed every time, be it in training, U23 races or even against the pros. All these traits point to a rider with a huge motivation and ambition to succeed on the big scene, and to have him as part of our young and successful team makes us very glad", said Patrick Lefevere, Quick-Step Floors' CEO, of the promising Dane.
"With this transfer, we show again just how committed we are on investing in young riders. Kasper is our 12th neo-pro since 2016, and ten of these riders who have made their pro debut in the Quick-Step Floors jersey are still racing for us, more than half of them having won at least a race so far. Why is that? Because here they find the perfect environment to develop and thrive and because everyone gets his chances in the Quick-Step Floors team", Lefevere concluded.
Photo credit: ©Sigfrid Eggers