It's official. Our world champion will be leaving Telenet-Fidea at the end of the cyclocross season and begin riding for Quick Step – a team that includes Tom Boonen and Sylvain Chavanel - in March. Zdenek's new contract runs through the end of 2013 and he'll be making his debut in May in either the Tour of California or the Tour of Belgium
“Personally it's a dream come true. I'm very happy and excited to race with team Quick Step, one of the best teams in the world,” Zdenek said. “This is an important step in my professional life. I've won a lot in cyclocross, but I really wanted to try this experience."
He goes on to say, “I'm 25 years old, and right now it's time for me to try to understand what I can do on the road. This doesn't mean I'll be quitting cross. I love this sport and intend to keep at it. I'm also thrilled for the chance to defend my country's colors in the MTB race in the 2012 London Olympics. I really would like to try this experience."
“As for my schedule, I'm taking it one step at a time. I have to learn a lot, almost everything. This is why we've worked out a schedule that doesn't keep me too busy to start with, that gives me time to grow slowly. At the moment, though, all my energy is concentrated on Sunday's World Championships. I'm going to do my best to win it, for me and the Telenet-Fidea team. I'll never forget the time I spent with this squad. I started with them in 2005, right there in St. Wendel where I became Under 23 world champion, and I'll be ending my experience with them once again in that little German town. I'd love to leave this important prize as a gift to the team and to our sponsors."
“Zdenek is a talented guy whose skills will surely raise the team's technical level ,” said Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere. “It was our pleasure to accept his request to road race; he really wants this. At 25 he's at a crucial stage of his sporting life. For our part we're going to try to help him as best we can to approach this new world without burning any stages and without too much pressure, with a schedule that also takes into consideration a learning phase."
Telenet-Fidea manager Hans van Kasteren also commented on the news. “We are aware of his ambitions and interests and we wish him all the best with his new team. We sincerely hope that he can achieve his new goals. We are also proud to have accompanied him during his rise to the top over the past five years. However, the current season isn't over yet. We are convinced that Zdenek will represent Telenet-Fidea during the last few weeks of the cyclocross season just as well as he has in past seasons. And even if he's not on the Belgian team, we still dare to hope that he will extend his world title in St. Wendel as a farewell to the team and its sponsors.”