Team Luxembourg is saving the announcement of World Champion Fabian Cancellara’s contract for last. Today, one day after receiving a first division licence, it confirmed two new cyclists for next year.
“Two additional young yet fully accomplished cyclists to the team,” read the team’s press release. “Swiss climber Oliver Zaugg and Dutch time trialling specialist Joost Posthuma have added their names to the list of top quality riders.”
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Their arrival brings the count of riders officially with the team up to 22 and starts the countdown to announcing Cancellara.
Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara won the Worlds time trial, the Tour of Flanders, the Paris-Roubaix and many other races this year. He will headline the team with the Schleck brothers, Fränk and Andy.
Cancellara announced on September 17 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.
Cancellara’s contract helped the yet unnamed Luxembourg-based team top the UCI’s rankings used to award the 18 first division, ProTeam licences. The UCI announced yesterday that the team made the cut and earned a four-year licence.
“Congrats to team Lux project,” Andy Schleck wrote on Twitter “Great news coming from Swiss [the UCI]. Thanks to everybody for hard work.”
Swiss Zaugg and Dutchman Posthuma will support Cancellara and the Schlecks, and have their own chances in smaller races.
“I want to have success in the Spring Classics and aim for shorter stage races which include time trials,” said 29-year-old Posthuma. “The whole team’s biggest goal is to take part in the Tour de France with a serious candidate for a podium or the overall, and I want to support that with everything I have to offer.”
Posthuma leaves home team Rabobank, where he started racing professionally in 2004. Zaugg leaves Italy’s Liquigas team, where he helped Vincenzo Nibali win the Vuelta a España in September.
“Oliver is someone who is always reliable in the mountains,” said General Manager Brian Nygaard. “He can definitely be counted on to be there to protect the leaders on the last climbs of the Grand Tours.”
Zaugg raced for Mauro Gianetti’s Saunier Duval team in from 2004 to 2006 and lives in the same Swiss canton. He likely decided to join team Luxembourg after Gianetti’s new Geox team failed to receive a first division licence yesterday.
Nygaard’s team is due to announce the rest of the staff – including Cancellara and German Robert Wagner – and the main sponsors soon. Belgian telecommunications company Belgacom and Danish wireless headset manufacturer, GN Netcom/Jabra, will reportedly sponsor the team.
The team will meet for its first training camp December 6 to 12 in the Swiss Alps.
Confirmed riders on team Luxembourg:
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)