Rising SA star Stefan de Bod on Monday became the latest in a flurry of cycling signings announced by Team Dimension Data for next season.
De Bod joins Czech Roman Kreuziger, Dane Michael Valgren and Swiss Danilo Wyss in signing two-year contracts as the SA World Tour team undergoes something of a restructuring process.
Also joining from January 1 2019 will be Norwegian Rasmus Tiller, 22, who arrives from Team Joker Icopal where he has been for the past two seasons.
Tiller is a powerful young rider, as showcased by his second place at the 2018 Norwegian road race championships, an event he won in 2017 when he was just 20 years old.
The signing of Kreuziger, Valgren and Wyss will strengthen Dimension Data’s prospects in the one-day Classics.
There has been no indication whether Mark Cavendish, whose three-year contract with Dimension Data ends on December 31, will extend his relationship with the team.
For the 21-year-old De Bod, his promotion from the Dimension Data Continental Team is reward for a series of impressive performances with the team’s feeder squad in 2018. Regarded as a strong climber and time triallist, he is the fifth rider to make the step to the World Tour team. De Bod, a multiple national under-23 time trial and road race champion, won the under-23 Strade Bianche and GP Palio del Recioto this season, as well as making the podium at the Trofeo Alcide Degasperi and Valle d’Aosta.
"I’ve been part of the development team since 2015 and I am very grateful for all the opportunities Team Dimension Data have given me over the last four years. The team have changed many lives all over Africa through Qhubeka, and they have also changed mine.
"Joining the World Tour team is an absolute dream come true for me. I’m looking forward to learning even more from the experienced guys," De Bod said.
One of those experienced riders will be the 32-year-old Kreuziger, who spent the last few years with Australian outfit Michelton-Scott. The Czech is a former winner of the Amstel Gold Race in 2013 and has three top 10 finishes in the Ardennes Classics this year.
At 26, Valgren had the finest season of his career in 2018, adding the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad victory to his Amstel title.
Wyss, 32, will add yet more experience to Dimension Data, joining them from Team BMC. Dimension Data will be riding on BMC bicycles from 2019 after spending four years on Cervelo equipment.
Team principal Douglas Ryder said the new signings, with the prospect of a few more names to be added, will give the team renewed momentum after a season that has been harder than most. Cavendish has struggled with injury and illness and, unlike in 2015, 2016 and 2017, the team failed to win a stage at the Tour de France.
"Roman signing for us is a big deal. To have a rider of his quality join our team is a real statement of intent and we’re thrilled to have him," said Ryder. "Throughout his career he’s produced impressive results and he’s determined to continue that with our team."
Said Valgren: I’m extremely excited to be joining Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. It’s a big opportunity for me to go to a team that’s keen on really building its Classics squad."