Rémi Cavagna, Enric Mas and Maximilian Schachmann will make the step to the World Tour next season.
We are happy to announce that three young riders will be part of the team starting from 2017: Rémi Cavagna (France), Enric Mas (Spain) and Maximilian Schachmann (Germany), who are coming from Etixx – Quick-Step's feeder-team, Klein Constantia, for which they scored a total of 11 victories in 2016. Set up in 2013, Klein Constantia affirmed itself as one of the best U23 teams in the business, boosting more than 50 victories since its inception, while at the same time nurturing and developing the riders who joined its ranks. Although young on the international scene, Klen Constantia already has a rich history when it comes to the riders which it helped forge a career, the most prominent examples being Julian Alaphilippe and Petr Vakoč, who learned the trade there before coming to Etixx – Quick-Step and displaying their talent by taking several impressive victories.
For years now, our team has invested into a structure which has the goal of detecting young riders and giving them the opportunity to show their skills. Joxean "Matxin" Fernandez is the scouter of Etixx – Quick-Step, traveling around the world and attending all important races, monitoring the young riders and then forwarding a full report to the team's management. From there, the riders who get the chance to be selected undergo evaluations the Bakala Academy – the high performance center which can be found at the University of Leuven – before joining the Klein Constantia squad, where they can develop in a professional and familiar environment, guided by the same principles as the World Tour team. These young guns can thus gain important experience and a profound education in sport culture, while being assisted by a staff always in contact with Etixx – Quick-Step.
So who are these three Klein Constantia alumni who will now head to new pastures? First of them is Rémi Cavagna, who has been one of the standout U23 riders of the year, which he started with a bang in Volta ao Alentejo, where he took a great solo win, on the final day. He repeated that feat on stage one of Circuit des Ardennes International, before leaving his mark on the Tour of Berlin, where he displayed the impressive time trialling skills he posseses on his way to conquering the general classification. French U23 ITT National Champion, he came close to another overall triumph in Paris-Arras, and even though he missed out on it for just a handful of seconds, the 20-year-old still hit the spotlight, on the last stage, which we won after keeping the peloton at bay with another fine solo effort.
A powerful climber with a strong individual time trial, Enric Mas needed less than one season with Klein Constantia to prove himself, taking center stage at Volta ao Alentejo (where he triumphed in the GC), as well as at the prestigious Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc, where he came in the top 4 in all bar one stage. His remarkable consistency catapulted 21-year-old Mas to first place, making him just the second Spanish rider to win the French event. Most recently, he was a top protagonist in Giro della Valle d'Aosta, finishing a close second, while at the same time taking the points classification.
In his second year with Klein Constantia, Maximilian Schachmann caught people's attention since last season, when he came runner-up at the U23 ITT World Championships in Richmond. This season, the 22-year-old focused also on his climbing besides the time trialling, and improved both, amassing two victories and six podiums. German ITT National Champion, Maximilian also scored an emphatic solo win at Valle d'Aosta, on the arduous finish of Piani di Tavagnasco, en route to finishing seventh in the GC, a result which came as a well-deserved reward for the hard work he has put in since the start of the season.
"We believe in this approach with the young riders and we invest in it thanks to the support of Etixx – Quick-Step team owner Mister Bakala, who was enthusiastic about this project since the very beginning", Etixx – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere said. "We already had great results thus far: Alaphilippe and Vakoč, who are at the Tour de France, and Wisniowski, who rode the Giro d'Italia, were part of this great project. Our approach is not centered around the results the young riders achieve, but on their margin of progression, their capacity to become good World Tour riders and on their personality. We believe that Rémi, Enric and Maximilian can lead the "second wave" of talents of our green project. The young generations are the future of our sport and we are excited to have them in the team for 2017 and beyond."
Photo credit (header): ©Tim De Waele