Etixx-Quick-Step has set its sights on the future by signing two young Colombian talents.
By
Cycling Central

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

The team has signed 20-year-olds Fernando Gaviria and Rodrigo Contreras for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Both riders impressed in the opening events of this season with Gaviria beating Mark Cavendish in two sprint victories at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.

Gaviria also won the Omnium at the recent UCI Track World Championships with a 15 point advantage over Australia's Glenn O'Shea.

"I am really looking forward to joining this team," Gaviria said.

"This was my first choice. I love this team and have followed them since I was a kid. I have strong admiration for Mark Cavendish. At the Tour de San Luis I was constantly watching him, trying to understand his movements and learn as much as I can from him.

"For me it is super to join a team that is so skilled in the sprints, and provides a good structure for me to do my job and get better at my job. For me it is a question of learning a lot with Etixx - Quick-Step, and to me this is the best team to learn from and also be able to do my job as best I can."

Etixx-Quick-Step has agreed to support Gaviria's desire to race on the track at the 2016 Rio Olympics and there is the chance that he might join the team as a stagiaire (trainee) later in the season.

Contreras finished fifth overall and was the best young rider at the Tour de San Luis in January. He also won the under 23 time trial title at the 2014 UCI Pan American Continental Road Championships.

"I am thrilled to have this opportunity," Contreras said.

"It's one of the best teams in the world and I am really looking forward to riding for this team. I am a climber, but I also love the time trial discipline.

"My idol is Rigoberto Uran, who races for this team, so to come here and learn from guys like him is really a dream come true."