Cancellara joins the Schlecks
FABIAN CANCELLARA, the world time trial champion, has signed a three-year contract with the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project where the Swiss will ride alongside the Schleck brothers.
Cancellara signed a new deal this week as the Swiss rider brought an end to his four-year relationship with Bjarne Riis’s Saxo Bank team.
Brian Nygaard, team manager at the newly-formed Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project, described the pairing of Cancellara and Andy Schleck, the Luxembourger who finished second to Alberto Contador at this year’s Tour de France by just 39 seconds, as “one of the best teams in the sport.”
“We have added one of the most significant athletes and personalities in professional cycling,” Nygaard added.
Cancellara’s transfer will surprise few in cycling.
Indeed, following the announcement that Andy and his older brother Frank were leaving Riis’s team, a number of Saxo Bank riders – Jakob Fuglsang, Jens Voigt and Stuart O’Grady – confirmed they were following the Schlecks.
Local cycling fans will be interested in the fact that Denmark’s Fuglsang won the 2008 Cape Epic mountain bike race – between Knysna and Somerset West – with teammate Roel Paulissen.
“In the end I knew that the project in Luxembourg would have all the ingredients I would need to continue improving myself without skipping a beat,” Cancellara said.
Cancellara was the last addition to the Luxembourg-based team, which is expected to unveil its name at an official launch on January 6.
Nygaard, meanwhile, has said that the new team will be targeting the overall general classification in the Tour de France.
“I’m happy that the team is perfectly placed to make its mark in the grand tours and most importantly find the top step,” he said. “To be a part of a Tour winning team is one of the most beautiful accomplishments any pro cyclist can hope for.”