Swiss cyclist Fabian Cancellara ended months of speculation and confirmed he will join Fränk and Andy Schleck's team in Luxembourg.
He said today in Belgium, "I am going to lead the Schlecks."
The Schlecks announced they would join the new team in August after Andy finished second to Alberto Contador by 39 seconds at the Tour de France. They both leave Saxo Bank to join the new, yet unnamed team, known as the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project.
Cancellara is the eighth Saxo Bank rider to make the jump from Saxo Bank, joining the Schlecks, Jens Voigt, Dominic Klemme, Jakob Fuglsang, Stuart O'Grady, Anders Lund. It will be his fourth team after Mapei (2001-2002), Fassa Bortolo (2003-2005) and CSC/Saxo Bank (2006-2010). The 29-year-old won the Worlds time trial, the Tour of Flanders, the Paris-Roubaix and many other races this year.
Cancellara announced on September 18 that he annulled his contract a year early with Saxo Bank's boss, Bjarne Riis. He reportedly paid €1.83 million - or one and a half times his 1.2m-euro contract he had with Saxo Bank for next year - to annul his contract. His new contract helped the yet unnamed Luxembourg-based team top the UCI's rankings partly used to award the 18 first division, ProTeam licences. The UCI confirmed last week that the team made the cut and earned a four-year licence.
"It is not only because of the Schleck brothers that I join this team. I have many options for the next year and can still win a lot. I still want to win more monuments," said Cancellara.
"After the Tour, I thought I still have another year with Saxo Bank, I want to respect my contract, but it was against my will. I wanted to feel good in a team and feel proud. It was time to change. It is nothing against [Alberto] Contador, but Saxo Bank was not a comfortable place anymore.
Sky's and Saxo Bank's former press officer, Brian Nygaard is the team's General Manager. He and the Team Manager Kim Andersen have already announced 24 riders, and confirmed Cancellara's arrival an hour after the initial news from Cancellara.
"Obviously signing a rider like Cancellara, we have added one of the most significant athletes and personalities," said Nygaard in a press release. "He brings an amazing amount of depth and quality to the project and we're extremely proud to have him onboard."
Frank Schleck also welcomed Cancellara's signing to the team via his Twitter feed on Tuesday afternoon, leaving the message: "Welcome Fabian to Luxembourg pro cycling team. Great champion to have and even better a great person and a great friend. Cheers Fabian cu soon".
Luxembourg Cycling Project: Riders
Fabian Cancellara (from Saxo Bank)
Frank Schleck (from Saxo Bank)
Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank)
Davide Vigano (Sky)
Daniele Bennati (Liquigas-Doimo)
Giacomo Nizzolo (amateur)
Bruno Pires (Barbot)
Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank)
Maxime Monfort (HTC-Columbia)
Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step)
Dominic Klemme (Saxo Bank)
Fabian Wegmann (Milram)
Linus Gerdemann (Milram)
Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank)
Brice Feillu (Vacansoleil)
William Clarke (amateur)
Stefan Denifl (Cervélo TestTeam)
Stuart O'Grady (Saxo Bank)
Anders Lund (Saxo Bank)
Tom Stamsnijder (Rabobank)
Martin Mortensen (Vacansoleil)
Joost Posthuma (Rabobank)
Oliver Zaugg (Liquigas-Doimo)
Fabian Cancellara: 2010 wins
Tour of Oman; overall
E3 Prijs Harelbeke
Tour of Flanders
Tour de Suisse; stage one ITT
Tour de France; prologue
Tour de France; stage 19 ITT
World time trial championships
Luxembourg signs two riders on heels of ProTeam acceptance
Luxembourg adds three more but waits to announce Cancellara
Fabian Cancellara: Rider Profile
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