Roman Kreuziger has signed for Gazprom-RusVelo for the 2021 season. He joins the Russian ProTeam on a one-year contract from NTT Pro Cycling.
“I received a really good energy and impression from the team management during our first online meetings,” Kreuziger said in a statement released by his new team.
“I found out that they are very confident and I will be able to calmly start my preparation for the upcoming season. At this moment there are many very solid riders on the market, that’s why I really appreciate being given a place in the team.”
Kreuziger is the latest rider to confirm his departure from NTT Pro Cycling after Edvald Boasson Hagen’s transfer to Total Direct Energie was announced on Tuesday, but Cyclingnews understands that Doug Ryder’s team is likely to continue in 2021 with a reduced budget.
Gazprom-RusVelo, meanwhile, have already signed Ilnur Zakarin from CCC for 2021, and the team is hoping for a wildcard invitation to the Giro d’Italia, having previously competed at the race in 2016 and 2017.
“I am set to share my experience with the young riders and of course I will be helping Ilnur Zakarin to fight for the GC. I hope that we will receive an invitation to Giro d’Italia next season, because we can definitely be competitive there,” Kreuziger said.
“From my side I also hope to participate in one-day races, especially my favourite Ardennes Classics. Another big goal for me for the next year is the Olympic Games in Tokyo.”
Kreuziger turned professional in 2006 with Liquigas. He later raced for Astana and spent four years with the Saxo Bank/Tinkoff team for four years, before joining Mitchelton-Scott in 2017 and moving to Dimension Data (later NTT) in 2019. In 2014, Kreuziger was provisionally suspended for a suspected biological passport violation relating to 2011-2012, but the case was later dismissed.
The 34-year-old’s palmarès includes the Tour de Suisse (2008) and Amstel Gold Race (2013), and he has also competed in 18 Grand Tours, placing 5th at the Giro d’Italia in 2011 and the Tour de France in 2013.
Kreuziger is facing into his 16th year as a professional rider – and his first outside of WorldTour level – but he insisted that he was not lacking in ambition.
“Someone might probably think that I am quite old, because I have been in professional cycling for such a long time, but let’s look at Valverde who is in great shape in his 40s,” he said. “So, I would say that I am only 34 and feel good and very ambitious to race for more seasons.”
Kreuziger added that he was encouraged to join the team by the presence of directeur sportif Dmitry Konyshev, who is a near neighbour on Lake Garda. “Dmitry lives very close to my place in Italy, so it will be possible to regularly meet and receive his professional advice and feedback,” he said.
Gazprom-RusVelo manager Renat Khamidulin hailed the arrival of Kreuziger, noting that the Czech would have “two main goals” at the team: “to be one of the main supportive riders for Zakarin and an athlete who is capable to personally deliver high results.”
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