Nizzolo and Popovych re-up with Radioshack-Nissan
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Monday, August 27, 2012

Nizzolo and Popovych re-up with Radioshack-Nissan

by Kyle Moore at 8:59 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Budding sprinter and reliable domestique add certainty to future of Luxembourg squad

Giacomo NizzoloRadioshack-Nissan was blessed with good news on Monday, as the squad announced that it had resigned two important riders who had contributed in different ways throughout the 2012 season. Both Giacomo Nizzolo and Yaroslav Popovych will return to the team – Nizzolo having signed for two years and Popovych for one.

Nizzolo has piled up the wins in his second season with the Luxembourg project, having ridden his first full season last year with Leopard-Trek. The Italian was joined with Popovych in 2012, after the Ukrainian veteran was a part of the Radioshack squad that merged with Leopard-Trek.

Nizzolo, just 23 years of age, won his first career race in stage five of the 2011 Bayern-Rundfahrt, ahead of John Degenkolb and Edvald Boasson Hagen. The emerging sprinter took some time to get hot in 2012, though he was knocking on the door in the Giro d’Italia, where he sprinted to third place on stage nine. He finally broke through in the Tour de Wallonie, winning a stage and the overall title.

Nizzolo has since rolled up the victories, grabbing stage five and the points classification in the Eneco Tour of Benelux, along with stage three of the Tour du Poitou Charentes.

Grateful to have been given a chance, Nizzolo was happy to return to the organization that has helped push him to the verge of stardom.

“I'm pleased to stay in the team where I have gotten the chance to grow as a pro bike rider,” Nizzolo stated. “My victories in the past weeks were reassuring for all parties - some sprints were won with amazing support of the team, and others were necessarily done with fighting my way to the finish line, but that's life for a sprinter. I'm hoping to step up now and return the faith the team has given me with some nice results.”

Radioshack-Nissan team director Johan Bruyneel had kind words for the young Italian.

“Giacomo is one of the most promising youngsters out there,” Bruyneel said. “He's been progressing a lot in these two years as a neo-pro and I'm really excited that he has chosen to stay with us, despite other interesting offers. It shows that confidence works both ways. I'm confident that Giacomo is going to claim his spot within the top tier of sprinters in the next years.”

At 32 years of age, Popovych has recommitted to Bruyneel’s squad for another season. Popovych has spent all but one of his professional years with the Belgian director, riding for Discovery Channel, Astana, and the two versions of Radioshack. All the years as a reliable Bruyneel lieutenant has given Popovych feelings of familiarity, which he does not want to give up.

“This team is pretty much like a second family for me,” he admitted. “I have known a lot of the riders and staff for years and I've gotten to know a lot of new faces over the last year. I feel very good in this team, so there's really no reason to consider a change.”

Popovych hasn’t had an individual triumph since a Paris-Nice stage in 2007 but has consistently proved his worth in his service to others. He pulled the peloton with Jens Voigt throughout the first week of this season’s Tour de France, in support of yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara. ‘Popo’ has found a program and a role in which he is comfortable.

“There's still the team time trial at the Worlds left on my calendar, but I can already look back at a fulfilling 2012 season, having helped our captains at the Classics and in the Tour,” Popovych continued. “The combination of these races is working really well for me and I would like to go on with a similar program next year. Of course I would still like to win a race here and there, but I'm determined to work for the team, as I've always done.

“I'm 32 now, but I have a great example in Jens Voigt, with whom I have spent many hours at the front of the peloton over the years. I will be a very happy man if I come close to what he has achieved in his career.”

Bruyneel recognized the significance of hanging onto one of his most trusted and experienced riders.

“There are few guys in the peloton that are as strong and loyal as Popo,” Bruyneel added. “He's always there when he's needed and he has become one of the strongholds of the team over the years. It was very important for me that he stays on board.

“I'm really happy and proud with both renewals. The negotiations with Michele Re, who represents both Giacomo and Popo, went really smoothly and I could feel that both riders want to continue to be part of our project.”

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