Willem Jakobus Smit steps up to WorldTour with Katusha-Alpecin
Sep 26 2017 11:46 am CET

Willem Jakobus Smit steps up to WorldTour with Katusha-Alpecin
Willem Jakobus Smit steps up to WorldTour with Katusha-Alpecin


South African rider Willem Jakobus Smit has signed with Katusha-Alpecin. The rider will be the first African cyclist to ride for this team.

Smit is currently the leader in the UCI Africa Tour and he takes a step up to the WorldTour with Katusha-Alpecin.

"In my life I was focused on one dream: to become a WorldTour rider," said Smit. "I started the season with two medals in the South African Championships (road and time trial) and a gold medal in the African Championship Road Race, too. I was very happy and I thought that it would open up an opportunity in professional cycling. But that didn't happen. So I decided that if professional cycling doesn't ring at my doorbell, I had to ring it myself by traveling to Europe and showing my potential.

"It was not easy because I have a long season and I run in two continents. But finally the dream has become real. Katusha-Alpecin phoned me and offered an opportunity. I don't have any doubt. It is my dream. Now I cannot wait to start working for the team at the maximum level of cycling. And it is time to say thank you to Katusha-Alpecin because they bet on African riders too."

The name of the rider was heard during the last World Championships road race where he was part of the original breakaway, and also the last to be caught by the peloton. Smit, who currently rides for RoadCover Cycling, has obtained 16 victories in the 2017 season.

"What impressed me most, even more than his results, is his desire to reach the top," commented Katusha-Alpecin's general manager Jose Azevedo. "He invested a lot in his sport and paid all his travel expenses himself.

"I like his professional attitude. WorldTour level will be a big step, but I am confident and we will look out for and care for him. Willie can handle climbs, he is fast and he has a good time trial in his legs. I look forward to working with him."
Image: Team Katusha-Alpecin logo



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