Stapleton hails winning performance in final races for HTC Highroad
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Stapleton hails winning performance in final races for HTC Highroad

by Shane Stokes at 4:45 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Martin and Neben bring 2011 victory total to 121 wins

Bob StapletonTeam owner Bob Stapleton has praised his HTC Highroad team and its two most recent winners, saying that he was proud of the victories clocked up by Amber Neben and Tony Martin in yesterday’s Chrono des Nations.

World champion Martin took his second TT victory in the rainbow bands, following up his time trial success (and subsequent overall honours) in the Tour of Beijing. He beat Gustav Larsson (Saxo Bank SunGard) by a considerable two minutes three seconds and Alex Dowsett (Sky Procycling) by two minutes 50.

Neben had a tighter fight in the women’s event, getting the better of compatriot Kristin Armstrong by nine seconds and Olga Zabelinkskaia by one minute and three.

The two wins were the perfect ending to the HTC Highroad story, bringing the total for the men’s and women’s teams for the season to a staggering 121. It is the 513th win since 2008, another remarkable – and unequalled – achievement.

“It's wonderful to see the team successful again right to the very end of the season,” said Stapleton, who was responsible for setting up the new team structure after T-Moblie walked away. “Both the men and the women won their first race of the season in January and now they have both won the last race. It's testament to the attitude of all of our staff and riders over the years and I'm very proud of their success.”

He had hoped that the team would continue next season but on August 4th he made the shock announcement that a sponsorship deal which had been secured and agreed had fallen through. With HTC not willing to up its commitment, he said that he was forced to wind the team up, bringing to an end one of the most dominant squads in the history of the sport.

Both Neben and Martin understood that they had been part of a perfect final act for the squad. “This was a great way for me to end the season,” said Neben, speaking both on a personal note and also in relation to the team. “It was one last, important time trial, and I was motivated to do well. It was difficult to race in October, three weeks after worlds, but it was definitely worth the effort and the crazy travel. It means a lot to win. I am happy and looking forward to some rest.”

She will remain within the women’s team structure next year, with Kristy Scrymgeour taking over running a squad which will be known as Specialized lululemon. Martin will move to the Omega Pharma – QuickStep setup, as will many riders and some of the staff from the current team.

He was also motivated and satisfied after his performance, ending his year on a high note. “I felt really good racing here and I was confident after worlds and winning in China,” he said. “Now I'm really happy to finish the season on a high and I'm looking forward to some rest and building towards next season.”


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