The most successful team in the peloton, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl has added three new riders to its roster, all of whom will join the Wolfpack at the beginning of next season.
The first of these is 31-year-old Czech Jan Hirt, who signed until the end of 2024. A pro since 2015, he will reinforce the team’s climbing contingent after a strong season which saw him win the Tour of Oman and finish sixth overall at the Giro d’Italia, where he also claimed a stage victory in Aprica.
Hailing from Wortegem-Petegem, 29-year-old Tim Merlier – who inked an agreement with the team which runs until the end of 2025 – started out in cyclo-cross, earning a national title in the Juniors, before eventually transitioning to road cycling. There he has taken some significant victories as a sprinter, including stages at the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, Brussels Cycling Classic and Classic Brugge-De Panne. This June, Tim also became Belgian National Champion for the second time in his career, meaning the Wolfpack will welcome back the famous jersey to its ranks, as Tim will be joining Remco Evenepoel, who holds the time trial title.
Last but not least, Casper Pedersen will also proudly wear the team’s colours from 2023 onwards, having agreed on a two-year contract. A multiple medalist at the European Track Championships, Casper turned pro in 2018 and it didn’t take him too much to show his qualities, just two years later winning one of the oldest races on the calendar, Paris-Tours. Since then, the 26-year-old Dane also confirmed his lead-out abilities in a number of races, which have brought him into the attention of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl.
“We are really pleased with the business we have done and that we have been able to bring in three quality riders to strengthen our squad for the coming years. I think my admiration for Tim is well documented and it will be fantastic to see both Belgian National Champion jerseys back in the Wolfpack”, Patrick Lefevere said.
“I have also been impressed by the talents of Casper Pedersen. I think he can look at his countryman Michael Mørkøv, with whom he shares many similar traits and learn a lot from. And we have Jan Hirt, who brings his climbing talents. He has been strong for a number of years, as we saw in this year’s Giro d’Italia. He has the talent to make results for himself but he also works really hard for others.”
“All three riders are great individual talents, but are also great team men, who I think will fit well into the Wolfpack and its philosophy, and we are looking forward to working with them”, concluded Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s CEO.
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel