Sam Gaze is set for a big opportunity on the road, having been signed as a trainee by World Tour team Deceuninck-Quick-Step.
Top New Zealand mountain biker Sam Gaze’s dreams of one day riding professionally on the road have been given a big boost, after being signed as a trainee by glamour World Tour team Deceuninck-Quick-Step.
Gaze, along with German Jannik Steimle, will join the Belgian team for the rest of this season, with the Kiwi still fully engaged in his mountain bike commitments for the upcoming World Cup and World Championships.
The two-time under-23 world champion and 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist has been in contact with Cycling New Zealand over this move, and while he is still committed to make the New Zealand team in mountain bike for next year’s Olympics, he has a long term goal of racing at the top level on the road.
« This is a wonderful opportunity for Sam with one of the most successful and high profile World Tour road teams, » Cycling New Zealand high performance director Martin Barras said. « We are absolutely thrilled for him, and we fully support his ambitions both on the road and in mountain bike.
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« Deceuninck-Quick-Step understand and support his commitments and desire in mountain bike and will work around this with riding opportunities for the rest of the season and hopefully into the future. »
Gaze, who has scored back-to-back national criterium victories over the past two years, is thrilled with the opportunity to cut his teeth in the professional road scene.
« I am beyond happy to be riding in the colours of Deceuninck-Quick-Step on the road for some racing in and around the remainder of the mountain bike season, » the 23-year-old said.
« My ambition is to one day achieve some big results in the classics, which is something that I really want to pursue. »
Deceuninck-Quick-Step have more than 50 victories this year, including three stages of the Tour de France, with Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe picking up 12 and sprinter Elia Viviani six.
Gaze will ride for his Specialized mountain bike team in the upcoming UCI World Cup races in Val di Sole (Italy) this weekend and Lenzerheide (Switzerland) next weekend ahead of the World Championships in Canada at the end of August.