Qhubeka Assos add Wisniowski, Sean Bennett and 20-year-old Evenepoel rival Karel Vacek

Cyclingnews
·4-min read
 VICTOR HARBOR AUSTRALIA  JANUARY 25 Ryan Gibbons of South Africa Team NTT Pro Cycling  Dylan Sunderland of Australia Team NTT Pro Cycling  Samuele Battistella of Italy Team NTT Pro Cycling  Peloton  during the 22nd Santos Tour Down Under 2020 Stage 5 a 1491km stage from Glenelg to Victor Harbor  TDU  tourdownunder  UCIWT  on January 25 2020 in Victor Harbor Australia Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
VICTOR HARBOR AUSTRALIA JANUARY 25 Ryan Gibbons of South Africa Team NTT Pro Cycling Dylan Sunderland of Australia Team NTT Pro Cycling Samuele Battistella of Italy Team NTT Pro Cycling Peloton during the 22nd Santos Tour Down Under 2020 Stage 5 a 1491km stage from Glenelg to Victor Harbor TDU tourdownunder UCIWT on January 25 2020 in Victor Harbor Australia Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

The Qhubeka Assos team have announced three new signings as they continue to complete their roster for 2021 after securing the team's future thanks to vital support from the Swiss-based clothing brand.

Łukasz Wiśniowski, Sean Bennett and Karel Vacek will all ride for Qhubeka Assos in 2021, boosting the Classics squad and adding young talent.

Wiśniowski joins from CCC Team and was second in the 2018 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad while riding for Team Sky. Bennett came through the Hagens Berman Axeon team in 2018 and finished the Giro d’Italia in 2019. Vacek is only 20 but beat Remco Evenepoel twice in 2018 when both were competing at Junior level.

Cyclingnews revealed Assos would be a title sponsor last week, with the team expected to have a budget of around €8 million and secure WorldTour status for 2021 despite late registration with the UCI.

Team manager Doug Ryder recently revealed that the African-registered team had 16 riders in place, with a further 11 still to be confirmed. Leading riders from 2020 such as Michael Valgren, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Louis Meintjes and Ben O’Connor have all moved on.

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This week, Qhubeka Assos confirmed that European champion Giacomo Nizzolo would stay on board as sprint leader. Max Walscheid, Domenico Pozzovivo, Andreas Stokbro, Michael Gogl, Dylan Sunderland, Victor Campenaerts, Nicholas Dlamini and Carlos Barbero have all been given new contracts. New signings already announced include Simon Clarke from EF Pro Cycling, Dimitri Claeys from Cofidis, and Kilian Frankiny from Groupama-FDJ.

The team are also reportedly in talks with Fabio Aru, with the Italian set to decide between a place in the WorldTour with Qhubeka Assos and a leadership role at the Vini Zabu-KTM ProTeam.

Qhubeka Assos said Wisniowski would be an integral part of Nizzolo’s lead-out train.

"2020 was a very hard year for everyone but I’m convinced that next year will be much better and I’ll be able to help the team to achieve some excellent results across the calendar – from the Spring Classics to the Grand Tours," he said.

"At this point in my career I believe that I’m still developing as a rider and this environment will provide the perfect conditions for that."

Bennett’s arrival follows on from the announcement of Simon Clarke’s move earlier in the week.

"After a couple of great years, I’m really excited looking to the future now as I think some of my best on the bike are still to come," he said.

20-year-old Vacek hails from Prague but moved to Italy to race when he was just 15. He rode for Hagens Berman Axeon in 2019 before returning to Italy and the Colpack Ballan team in 2020.

"I spent one year with Hagens Berman Axeon and then returned to my roots in Italy and Team Colpack Ballan. I’m super happy that I can now be a part of Team Qhubeka Assos, which is amazing," he said.

"I’m now looking forward to getting into the best shape for next season and of course one of my biggest dreams would be to race the Tour de France or one of the Grand Tours, and to target a good GC result (in the future). That’s my career goal but firstly I’m glad and grateful to be part of this superb team."

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