Matthew Lloyd gets fresh start in pro cycling with Lampre-ISD contract
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Matthew Lloyd gets fresh start in pro cycling with Lampre-ISD contract

by Shane Stokes at 7:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Two year deal for Australian climber

Matthew LloydThe 2010 Giro d’Italia King of the Mountains Matthew Lloyd is set to end his absence from the professional peloton following the news that he has signed for the Lampre-ISD team for 2012.

The Australian has been given a vote of confidence by the awarding of a two year deal, taking him until the end of 2013.

“I know Matthew well, we had a common experience in Belgium, and I'm happy to be together again,” said Lampre-ISD technical director Roberto Damiani. “Lloyd is well motivated in giving the best and he's happy to be in a team he has always appreciated.”

The two previously worked together with the Omega Pharma-Lotto setup, which Lloyd departed from in peculiar circumstances in April.

At the time the team cited ‘behaviour’ which it said was at odds with the ‘image of the team’. It spoke of a policy of zero tolerance, but also stressed that the issue was not about performance enhancing drugs.

Lloyd had injury problems this season which affected his ability to compete. He crashed in Melbourne, Australia shortly before Christmas, and was then hit by a car in Italy in February. He started the Vuelta al Pais Vasco the following week, but failed the start the final day’s time trial.

He was then scheduled to ride the Volta a Catalunya but didn’t line out in the event. “I’m not going to try and smash everyone’s eye-balls in with different physical and mental reasons trying to justify why I didn’t race, but it wasn’t happening,” Lloyd said at the time.

He has fully recovered from his injuries and did some racing recently in Australia, including the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. While he was originally connected to the GreenEdge team, its complete roster didn’t include him on it and it was clear that he had to look elsewhere.

He’s now got a second chance with the Italian team, and its general manager Giuseppe Saronni believes that he has much to give.

“Lloyd is an athlete with a top quality potential. He could be an important element in the roster since he'll be useful in supporting the team's captain in the Grand Tours,” he said. “He'll also be able to try to go in search of personal satisfactions in the toughest races.”

The climber is now 28 years of age and should have several more seasons at the top level. His past results include that Giro mountains title, as well as stage six of the same race, the 2008 Australian national road race championships, plus stages in the Tour of Japan and Herald Sun Tour.

Neither the team nor the Melbourne rider have indicated his programme as yet, but given that it is likely he will spend the winter in Australia, it seems probable that he will ride the Santos Tour Down Under, then travel back to Europe.

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