Team Garmin-Transitions confirmed today that Thor Hushovd will make the jump and join the squad along with bike manufacturer Cervélo next season.
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His arrival will strengthen the US team’s classics and sprint line-up, but may cause conflicts with the Garmin’s current sprinter Tyler Farrar.
Farrar challenged Mark Cavendish’s sprint dominance at the Tour de France over the last two years. This year, despite a fractured bone in his wrist, he finished second in Gueugnon and third in Bourg-lès-Valence, both times behind winner Cavendish and both times ahead of Hushovd, who was 10th and seventh.
Hushovd, 32, has won nine stages and twice pulled on the sprinters green jersey at the Tour de France, although his pure speed now seems to be diminishing. This year he won stage three over the cobblestones used annually in the Paris-Roubaix spring classic. He escaped in a small group with and won ahead of Sky’s Geraint Thomas.
Team Garmin was eager to highlight Hushovd’s one-day classics abilities – second and third at the Paris-Roubaix, and winner of the under-23 edition – and not dwell on any possible internal conflicts that may arise. Though, one thinks immediately of Cavendish’s and André Greipel’s quarrels at HTC-Columbia over the past years.
“One of our goals is to become stronger in the Classics, and adding a world-class rider like Thor will get us there,” said Garmin’s team manager, Jonathan Vaughters. “He’s an exceptionally talented rider and a great fit for our new team.”
Vaughters also reminded people via his Twitter feed; “Thor turned pro with us at CA [Credit Agricole] in 2000. We won the TTT together at teh Tour too. He’s a strong, intelligent, good and generous person. V happy!”
“I’m going to focus my season on the Classics,” Hushovd said. “My biggest goal is to get one major Classics victory in 2011. I’ve come close over the past few years so I will build on that experience and hopefully, stand on the podium with my new team.”
Hushovd stood on the top of Ghent-Wevelgem’s podium in 2006 and, last year, on top of the podium of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. His win at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was Cervélo TestTeam’s first one-day classic win and an important boost in the team’s debut year.
On Thursday, bike manufacturer Cervélo announced it will end the sponsorship of its team at the end of this season. One day later, Garmin-Transitions announced its team will become Garmin-Cervélo for next year.
It is unable to bring all of Cervélo TestTeam’s riders due to budget and UCI rules that limit first division, ProTour teams to 30 riders. The future of its other riders – including Brits Dan Lloyd, Jeremy Hunt and Roger Hammond – is uncertain.