Meersman to ride for Fortuneo in 2017, Rick Zabel joins Katusha

Fortuneo Vital Concept has confirmed the signing of Gianni Meersman for 2017, boosting the roster of the French Professional Continental team. 

“The team quickly showed an interest in me and that impressed me,” Meersman said about his new team. “There is a balance between my expectations and the team’s plans. I’d been on contact Emmanuel Hubert for some time, I’d given him my word, so my two victories in the Vuelta won’t change anything.”

“This is a competitive team where I can have the freedom to express myself in some events. The race programme is very interesting and I look forward to riding the Coupe de France races and I hope the Tour de France too. The team’s management made it clear they believe in me. It’s very important to have the confidence of the staff and my teammates to get results.”

Another transfer announced today is the move of Rick Zabel to Katusha. The German rider comes from BMC Racing Team. In 2016 Rick Zabel successfully completed his second Giro d’Italia, finishing four times in the top ten. As a young pro rider he also has a stage win in the Tour of Austria on his palmares.

“Team Katusha is becoming a more and more international team and with Tony Martin and Nils Politt I will have two other German riders around me. I look forward to being part of this team. Most of all I will be happy to have a place in a team focusing on the classics too. I want to play a very active role in the lead-out for Alexander Kristoff. It is nice to work for a big rider and learning from his experience. Of course I dream of my own successes, but that’s for later; I am still very young”, said Rick Zabel.

“I know Rick’s father Erik very well. I rode with him 16 years in the pro peloton and later Erik became the team liaison for our bike manufacturer Canyon. In this way I have already followed Rick’s career for many years. I am convinced he has enormous growth potential ahead of him. We don’t expect him to equalize Erik’s records. It is a pleasure to welcome a young guy with the right spirit and mentality into our team. I am excited to have him with us”, added Team Katusha General Manager Viacheslav Ekimov.