Both in Herning and in the Vejle-area there were two good DCU teams (club teams) in 2011. Herning had proud cycling traditions raising talents and they wanted to do more for the many riders in the club. Kolding, Vejen, Vejle, Middelfart and Fredericia decided to join forces to create a superstructure of the five local cycling clubs to give young riders better opportunities to develop.
It evolved and in the late 2011 two good organizations were built up in Herning and Kolding, each creating its own continental team.
The forces behind the two teams didn’t know it then, but the two teams would later merge into one and it is today one of the best cycling teams in Denmark – Team Virtu Cycling.
Tre-For and Blue Water Cycling was the name of the Vejle-area and Herning’s continental team. The two teams were two of seven Danish continental teams that year, which made the competition for both riders and in national races was very tough.
Tre-For had secured the talents of Asbjørn Kragh Andersen and Kristian Haugaard, who were supported by more experienced riders such as Thomas Guldhammer and Michael Tronborg. At Blue Water Cycling, there were riders like Mark Sehested Pedersen, Lasse Norman Hansen and Rasmus Quaade, who came to do well during the year.
Both teams picked up several victories and podiums in the national races, but it was Blue Water Cycling who did best. The only 20-year-old Mark Sehested Pedersen took the first UCI victory on stage 4 of the Irish stage race An Post Ras, and three days later Lasse Norman Hansen followed up with another victory. Later on in the year, Rasmus Quaade won the U23 European ITT championship.
One of the season’s big goals for both teams was Tour of Denmark, but it was only Blue Water Cycling who managed to get a wildcard. However, Tre-For’s Kristian Haugaard was picked for the Danish national team and he finished best among the two teams in 27th place.
By the end of the year, Tre-For had 8 wins and 18 podium finishes, while Blue Water Cycling was slightly better with 9 wins and 30 podium finishes. However, both team had got the taste for more after their first year as a continental team and were getting stronger going into 2013.
Tre-For had headhunted some of Blue Water Cycling’s leaders for 2013 and signed Rasmus Quaade. Another Kragh Andersen had joined the team when Asbjørn Kragh Andersen’s younger brother and huge talent Søren Kragh Andersen rode his first season as a senior rider.
However, Blue Water Cycling had also picked up reinforcements when the talented Rasmus Guldhammer and the young track cyclist Mathias Møller Nielsen had joined the team. And the two stood for some of the season’s highlights, along with Lasse Norman Hansen, who was still riding in the team.
In May, Lasse Norman Hansen and Mathias Møller Nielsen dominated the German U23 UCI race Tour de Berlin with one stage victory and several podium finishes along the way, and they ended up being 1st and 3rd in the GC. A few days later, Rasmus Guldhammer followed up with podium finishes in An Post Ras, where he was 3rd in GC before Lasse Norman Hansen again took the lead and was double U23 Danish champion.
At the elite Danish national championships, however, it was Tre-For who performed best when Rasmus Quaade first took silver at the ITT, before the just 20-year-old Casper von Folsach took bronze in the road race. And the good results for both teams also meant that both teams were among the four out of seven Danish continental teams who was invited to Tour of Denmark – one of the season’s major goals.
However, there were no big results for the teams, but Søren Kragh Andersen gave a little taste of his talent when he was close to winning the hill jersey, but had to see it slip away on the last stage to Frederiksberg.
In general, both teams had some good seasons where Tre-For won 14 racecs and had 42 podium finishes, Blue Water took just as many wins but only 38 podium finishes. However, they could rejoice that they had significantly more international results, and Lasse Norman Hansen finished the season strong when he was 3rd at the U23 ITT World Championships.
At the end of the season, there was plenty of work to be done in the two organizations of the teams and on September 13th it was announced that the teams merged, so that in 2014 they would ride under the name Team TREFOR – Blue Water, where the focus should continue to be to develop talents, but now in an even better environment.
With two teams that became a one more riders said goodbye, but the result of the merger became a very strong and talented team who was ready for the 2014 season. Lasse Norman Hansen had taken the step up to the World Tour, but several talented riders were ready to take over. However, it was especially three riders who ran away with most of the attention. Rasmus Guldhammer, Rasmus Quaade and Søren Kragh Andersen stood for 12 out of 14 victories and more than half of the 51 podium finishes the team had in 2014.
However, several riders also made a mark from the start of the season. In the French stage race Tour du Loir et Cher, both 24-year-old Rasmus Mygind and 23-year-old Patrick Clausen were on the podium in the first stages, before Rasmus Guldhammer won two stage victories, and the two Rasmus’ also finishes in 2nd and 4th in GC.
During the spring season, Rasmus Guldhammer continued to impress when he took several podium finishes in Danish and Norwegian one day-races, and Søren Kragh Andersen won the first Danish national medal of 2014, when he won the U23 ITT gold. The next day, 20-year-old Frederik Plesner won the U23 silver in the road race and shortly after Rasmus Quaade took a brilliant victory when he won gold at the Danish National ITT Championship and could wear Dannebrog for the next year.
And in the Danish flag he performed well on the ITT on stage 5 of Tour of Denmark, where he placed 2nd. He continued showing off good performances in the Italian stage race Giro Della Regione Friuli with another 2nd place and finishing on the podium in the GC.
First season as Team TREFOR – Blue Water was ended in China with the 9-day long stage race Tour of Taihu Lake, where both Patrick Clausen and Søren Kragh Andersen made several great results, and the latter could even take home with the youth jersey.
And the many good results also showed off in the leaderboard. Team TREFOR – Blue Water continued the upward trend of the past year, and the talents’ many results earned them 33rd place on the Europa Tour-ranking, which was the best result in the team’s history so far.
In the 2nd season as Team TREFOR – Blue Water there was plenty of changes in the team again. The focus on developing talents had proved well and both Rasmus Gudhammer and Rasmus Quaade signed with Cult Energy Pro Cycling, that did its first year as a Pro Continental team.
Instead, profiles such as Alex Rasmussen, Sebastian Lander and the Swedish champion Michael Olsson joined the team, as well as Asbjørn Kragh Andersen who returned to the team. Three promising junior riders had also got the chance and they would all put a solid mark in the season.
Fast Patrick Clausen kickstarted the season with a 3rd places on stage 1 of the strong Italian stage race Coppi e Bartali, where Søren Kragh Andersen also continued from 2014, as he rode in the youth jersey for several days.
However, it was 18-year-old Andreas Hyldgaard Jeppesen who took the first victory of the year when he won his only 3rd race as a senior when he took the victory in a Danish A-race. And the victories continued to come in a steady stream, so when the season was over, the team had won incredible 28 races and also had 75 podium finishes.
At the UCI-races it was especially the Kragh Andersen brothers who impressed as they stood for all the UCI victories and the majority of the podium finishes. Especially in the Norwegian mountains they were dominant, first they won the two one-day-races Ringerike GP and Hadeland GP and after they pulled of a victory and several podiums finishes in Tour des Fjords, where the Swedish champion Michael Olsson also finished on the podium together with Søren Kragh Andersen.
At the Danish national championships, the medal cabinet was also expanded considerably. First, Søren Kragh Andersen was 2nd at the U23 ITT, and two days later the team swiped the podium as first-year senior Jonas Gregaard Wilsly won the U23 road race in front of his teammates Mads Rahbek and Søren Kragh Andersen. Two weeks later, Team TREFOR – Blue Water could even win the third TTT national title in a row, as Mads Rahbek, Søren Kragh Andersen, Asbjørn Kragh Andersen, Daniel Holm Foder, Mark Sehested Pedersen and the first-year senior Anders Hardahl was fastest.
For one of the season’s major goals Tour of Denmark, the team also delivered its best results so far. Three 3rd places for the Kragh Andersen brothers, and together with the rest of the season’s results, Team TREFOR – Blue Water could once again reach a new historical peak with a 25th place on the Europa Tour-ranking as the best Danish Continental team in 2015.
A year with lots of results from the talents had once again proved well and both Søren Kragh Andersen, Asbjørn Kragh Andersen and Sebastian Lander had moved a level up to the 2016 season, where the team also changed its name to Team TREFOR – during the first part of the season.
Strong riders had also joined the team as the U23 ITT world champion Mads Würtz Schmidt was brought in to be a new leader and he was supported by talented riders as Niklas Eg and Kasper Asgreen as well as the first-year senior and track rider Niklas Larsen.
The 18-year-old Niklas Larsen was also the first to impress. Together with the national team, he won World Championship bronze in 4,000 meters team pursuit in March, and he was a part of the team again when they went to the Olympics, where they also earned a bronze medal. And the young rider continued with his impressive achievements on the track as he went on to win the European Championship in points race – his first ever.
On the road, Team TREFOR also had a good start as the two new riders Christian Moberg and Mads Würtz Schmidt won the first two races in Germany, and the U23 ITT world champion did not look back from there. First, he won two stages and the overall victory in the Belgian stage race Le Triptyque Des Monts et Chateaux, and afterwards he was crowned double U23 Danish champion.
However, 21-year-old Kasper Asgreen also showed his skills when he finished 3rd in GC in Tour de Berlin, then 2nd in the U23 Danish ITT championship, which he followed up with another medal when he also was 3rd at the elite Danish ITT championship. In total, the team earned five Danish national medals, as they also won the national TTT championship for the fourth time in a row.
Before the season’s high point, Tour of Denmark, there was exciting things happening in the team. Bjarne Riis and Lars Seier Christensen took over the main sponsorship, and as of July 22nd the team changed its name to Team Virtu Pro – VéloCONCEPT.
And as Team Virtu Pro – VéloCONCEPT the team also had great success. Mads Würtz Schmidt showed his class in Tour of Denmark when he finished 2nd in stage 1, won stage 5, won the youth jersey and finished on 3rd place in the GC, which was the best results for the team ever in the biggest race of Denmark.
The results combined made Team Virtu Pro – VéloCONCEPT Denmark’s best cycling team in 2016 with a 51st place on the Europa Tour-ranking. But even though the season was over, more things happened on the team. At the beginning of November, Bjarne Riis and Lars Seier Christensen took over ownership of the team, and it became part of the Riis Seier Project (now Virtu Cycling Group) along with a number of other cycling-related brands and a female Danish cycling team.
At the start of January, Team Virtu Pro – VéloCONCEPT became Team VéloCONCEPT, and during off-season the team had gotten some strong riders. Mads Würtz Schmidt had joined the World Tour team Katusha-Alpecin, but instead the Danish national road race champion Alexander Kamp, Rasmus Guldhammer and Michael Carbel were some of the new names on the team.
And It didn’t go long before the new riders started to perform. Just seven race days into the season, Alexander Kamp took the team’s first UCI victory in 2017, when he won stage 3 of International Tour of Rhodes. Across the spring, he and Rasmus Guldhammer were two of the big profiles in the team. It showed off with a stage win in Circuit des Ardennes and Tour du Loir et Cher, where Alexander Kamp also took the overall win and shortly after Rasmus Guldhammer won both Norwegian one-day-races Ringerike GP and Sundvolden GP.
In the meantime, several of the U23 riders also began to step up. First, Kasper Asgreen won GP Viborg after a great teamwork performance after which he took a supreme Danish U23 ITT title, and then helping his team mate Michael Carbel to victory in the road race the day after. Kasper Asgreen added even more merits to his name later on when he finishes 2nd in the Danish ITT championship, and then moved on to become U23 European ITT champion a month later.
22-year-old Niklas Eg also began to show his talent on the climbs during summer. First he made it to the podium in the U23 Grand Prix Priessnitz Spa (The Peace Race), then he was 4th in Giro Ciclistico Della Valle D’Aosta Mont Blanc, followed that up with 2nd place in Kreiz Breizh Elites before that he finished 3rd in the Tour de l’Avenir, which was the best Danish results in 10 years. Kasper Asgreen also did an impressive race when he soloed to victory on stage 1 and rode in yellow for the following four stages.
The season goal Tour of Denmark was in 2017 in September, and shortly before the race the team changed its name. Team VéloCONCEPT became Team Virtu Cycling when Riis Seier Project changed name to Virtu Cycling Group and Jan Bech Andersen became part of the owners.
It was therefore in newly designed clothing that Team Virtu Cycling went into Tour of Denmark, and despite the fact of being a continental team, Team Virtu Cycling was a big part of creating the race. It also meant that all riders could step on the podium at the last stage in Aarhus, as they won the team competition. Rasmus Guldhammer was 4th in the race, and 21-year-old Andreas Hyldgaard Jeppesen was also named the fighter of the race.
The race was also one of the last in the season, but a few days later the World Championship awaited, and here Michael Carbel got his hands on some precious metal. The fast rider showed his skills in the U23 road race, as he won the pelotons sprint and could go home with a bronze medal around his neck.
With 16 wins and over 40 podium finishes, Team Virtu Cycling managed to become the best cycling team in Denmark on the Europa Tour-ranking in 2017 placing 21st overall and 8 among all the continental teams. Once again, the team had improved and the 2017 season was the best so far.