GEOX-FUJI Test Team – A Year in Review

2011 was a fantastic year for the GEOX-FUJI Test Team. 31 riders from 10 different countries across the globe appeared in more than 170 races in 6 different countries.

The team tallied up 12 wins, 84 top-10 placements,  8 top-3 team rankings, and 2 double-podiums aboard their Fuji Altamira’s and D-6′s – figures that surely show development. In fact, 2 Test Team Riders – Lucas Persson and Lars Andersson – have been offered professional contracts for 2012!

More than 300 riders from 14 different countries have applied to the Cycling Center for 2012. The 2011 Test Team members already confirmed for next season include: Taylor KNEUVEN (USA), Nat THOMPSON (USA), Ian HOLT (USA), Sean PASSAGE (USA), Geoff STRAUB (Australia), Jannes WESSELS (Canada), Paavo PAAJANEN (Finland), Mikko PAAJANEN (Finland), Sondre THORBERGSEN (Norway), Lucas PERSSON (Sweden), Lars ANDERSSON (Sweden), Mathieu SELWA (France), Thomas VANHAECKE (Belgium), Gertjan DE VOS (Belgium), and Arne CASIER (Belgium).

Thanks for the tremendous support from Fuji, Oval Concepts, Hutchinson, DT-Swiss, TRP, Rotor, A-Class, KMC, Hudz, Look, Diadora, Spiuk, Deda, Selle Italia, Geodis Wilson, and Carbboom. We look forward to working with you again next season, and we assure we will be at the front of the peloton, flying our Fuji’s to victory.

Thanks for a great season,

Bernard Moerman
Test Team General Manager

Another Test Team Double Podium!

Just a week after dominating the Circuit du Port, the GEOX-FUJI Test Test found themselves taking over yet another podium! Swedes Lars Anderson and Lucas Persson finished 1st and 3rd respectively at the Rundt om Christansborg in Copenhagen, Denmark. Lucas earned his podium just a week after winning in Dunkerque.

After finishing 6th in a UCI race in Oudenburg, Belgium, Thomas Vanhaecke narrowly misses victory in Bredene, Belgium, coming across the line 2nd in the Kermis race.

But he claims it proudly in Westkerke! After finishing 2nd in two Belgian races earlier in the week, Thomas comes out on top! Notice teammate Ian Holt on the right, fighting to nullify any attacks from the chasers. Holt finished 9th, and the Test Team claimed a Team Classification win yet again!

Lucas Persson wins Circuit Du Port! Thomas Vanhaecke 2nd!

Lucas Perrson (1st) and Thomas Vanhaecke (2nd) on the Circuit du Port podium

The GEOX-FUJI Test Team absolutely dominated the UCI 1.2 Circuit du Port in Dunkerque, France, finding a place on every podium.

10 kilometers into the race, three Test Team members attacked: Ian Holt, Lucas Persson, and Lars Andersson. Thomas Vanhaecke, along with 4 other riders, soon bridged up to the break, and the new 8-man lead group stayed away for nearly 50 kilometers.

Test Team members Taylor Kneuven and Jannes Wessels then joined the leaders, along with approximately 25 members of the peloton, but Lucas and Thomas escaped into a 12-rider break – a group pedaling on average at more that 50 km/hour.

12 kilometers to the finish, Thomas launched the first solo attack, but didn’t earn more than 10 seconds. A persistent and resilient Thomas attacked 3 more times before Lucas surged full force with 6 kilometers to go.

Lucas TT’d his way all the way to the finish line, while Thomas neutralized all counters, before winning the sprint for 2nd! Check out a video of the finish below, and see what Lucas had to say about “winning” the day before his victory!

And aside from the 1-2 Test Team podium, Thomas won the race’s U23 Classification, and the GEOX-Fuji Test Team took home the title for best team!

Team Manager Bernard Moerman said after the race, “We won this race seven years ago with Jussi Veilkanen, now riding for Omega-Pharma Lotto, and 3 years ago with Steven Van Vooren, now a member of Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator. So I was expecting big things, but this was huge!”

“The way Nat Thompson, Mathieu Selwa, Mikko Paajanen, Taylor Kneuven, and Ian Holt worked for the team was perfect,” added Bernard.

The headline reads: Thomas Vanhaecke takes second place in Duinkerke – “Great success for our team.”

And while his teammates were off dominating in France, Test Team member Gertjan De Vos  finished 5th and won the King of the Mountains jersey in a climbing race in the Ardennes, Belgium.

The GEOX-FUJI Test Team has been earning wins and podium finishes all across Europe this season, particularly in the last few weeks. And people are surely noticing. Bernard’s received more than 30 Belgian, 60 European, and 100 American and Australian applications for next season.

The 2011 Test Team members already confirmed for next year include: Taylor KNEUVEN (USA), Nat THOMPSON (USA), Ian HOLT (USA), Sean PASSAGE (USA), Geoff STRAUB (Australia), Jannes WESSELS (Canada), Paavo PAAJANEN (Finland), Mikko PAAJANEN (Finland), Sondre THORBERGSEN (Norway), Lucas PERSSON (Sweden), Lars ANDERSSON (Sweden), Mathieu SELWA (France), Thomas VANHAECKE (Belgium), Gertjan DE VOS (Belgium), and Arne CASIER (Belgium).

Test Team’s Mathieu Selwa is making headlines!

A French newspaper clipping from Test Team member Mathieu Selwa’s Stage 1 victory in the Espoirs’ Tour de l’Ain. The headline reads, “Mathieu Selwa nearly from start to finish,” highlighting his dominant performance in the race’s opening stage.

Mathieu on the Stage 1 podium in his native France, wearing a big grin and donning the Tour de l’Ain leader’s jersey.

“The final words of Selwa” reads the headline. The article details how Mathieu went on to claim not only the overall GC but also the Mountains Classification in the 2011 edition of the Tour de l’Ain!

Mathieu in his polka-dotted Mountains Classification winner’s jersey. Since his win, Mathieu has been selected to race in the U23 French Road Championships and is in the pre-selection for the French U23 National Team for Worlds.

Belgian Test Team members Gertjan de Vos and Thomas Vanhaecke, who’ve earned podium finishes throughout the season, have been selected to race in the U23 Belgian Road Championships.

Mathieu Selwa wins Tour de l’Ain GC!

After winning a stage of the Espoirs’ (U23) Tour de l’Ain in his native France, the GEOX-FUJI Test Team’s Mathieu Selwa went on to claim 2nd in the following day’s stage for another podium finish – two impressive placements that earned him the overall GC win AND a Mountains Classification victory! Congratulations to Mathieu!

Check out photos below from the Test Team’s races in Oostkamp and Beernem, Belgium, where the team had multiple top-ten finishes.

Nat Thompson on the podium in Oostkamp. The GEOX-FUJI Test Team’s young American sprinted to 3rd place, besting 7 other riders in the chase group for a coveted spot on the podium in the Test Team’s hometown race.

Paavo Paajanen, who finished 8th in the race, leads a 3-rider breakaway in Oostkamp.

Jannes Wessels chases in Beernem. Teammate Thomas Vanhaecke finished 4th in the race’s final sprint, and Paavo Paajanen took 9th.

Test Team’s Nat Thompson podiums in Oostkamp!

The GEOX-FUJI Test Team dominated the race in home-base Oostkamp, Belgium.

Paavo Paajanen was in a lead group of 3 riders for much of the stage but crashed in the final 25 kilometers of the slippery circuit. The remaining leaders went on to finish 1-2, but out of the 8-rider chase group, 3 Test Team members emerged: Americans Nat Thompson and Taylor Kneuven and the resilient Finn, Paavo Paajanen. Nat fought his way onto the podium at 3rd, Taylor took 4th, and Paavo finished 8th.

In Sunday’s race in Knesselare, Belgium, the Test Team ruled yet again.

The newest member of the team and younger brother of Paavo, Mikel Paajanen, had a particularly strong race. The U23 Finland Champ finished 9th, followed closely by teammate Taylor Kneuven at 14th. And 12 kilometers from the finish line, 3 Test Team riders escaped from the peloton to come across the line 16th, 17th, and 18th – 5 GEOX-FUJI Test Team riders in the top-20!

Next up is the U23 National TT Championship on Monday, August 15th, where Test Team riders Thomas Vanhaecke and Gertjan de Vos, who finished 5th last weekend in a climbing race in Belgium, will race.  The team expects big things of these talented Belgian riders.

Gertjan De Vos at the U23 National Team TT selection race in Angreau, Belgium.

Snapshots from Aarschot

The Test Team suits up for the UCI 1.2 Dwars Door Het Hageland in Aarschot, Belgium.

Pre-race prep.

Geoffrey Ducarne smiles for the camera on a rare, sunny day in Belgium.

The Aarschot Test Team Squad: (from left to right) Sean Passage, Sport Director Andre Soetaers, Thomas Vanhaecke, Geoffrey Ducarne, Gertjan de Vos, and Aloïs Mus.

American Nat Thompson (right) prepares to ride off to the start.

Sport Director Soetaers talks strategy with Thomas Vanhaecke.

Geoffrey signs in.

A closer look at Geoffrey’s Rotor Q-rings and Oval Concepts-DT Swiss wheelset.

Geoffrey poses with his customized Fuji SL 1.

GEOX-Fuji Test Team dominates Tour de la Province de Liege!

In the the largest and most challenging climbing stage race of the season for amateur and continental teams – the Tour de la Province de Liege – the GEOX-Fuji Test Team tallied up a win and two podium finishes, as well as managed to have a rider in every major break! Check out the pictures and details below!

Paavo Paajanen wins Liege’s 3rd stage with Test Team rider Gertjan de Vos celebrating in the background as he watches his teammate cross the finish line. Both Paavo and Gertjan were in a 9-rider breakaway for 50 kilometers of the stage.

Paavo on the 3rd-stage podium.  Paavo’s victory catapulted the Test Team from 4th to 1st in the Team Classification.

Lucas Persson, who finished 6th in Stage 1, sprints to 2nd in Liege’s 4th Stage.

In the final standings, Kalle Sandell took 2nd, Gertjan de Vos 4th, and Lucas Persson 7th in the Mountains Classification. In the Points Classification, Kalle Sandell took 3rd. And in the overall GC, Paavo finished 8th and Lucas 9th.

Overall, a dominant effort against some seriously impressive competition: the feeder teams of Lotto – Omegha Pharma, Quick Step, and Vacansoleil, as well as the Belgian and USA U23 national teams. With top ten’s in nearly every classification, the Test Team assured itself a a 2nd-place finish in the Team Classification.

Conquer Your Mountain Episode 3

Conquer Your Mountain Episode 2

Check back later in the week for Episode 3 of “Conquer Your Mountain,” a series filmed and edited by Test Team rider Jannes Wessels.

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