Cancellara gets important reinforcements with six RadioShack riders moving across to new Trek team
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cancellara gets important reinforcements with six RadioShack riders moving across to new Trek team

by VeloNation Press at 12:20 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Devolder, Irizar, Popovych, Rast, Roulston and Sergent to remain alongside Swiss rider

Fabian CancellaraThe odds of Fabian Cancellara being able to achieve his big Classic goals next have improved with the announcement that the new Trek team has signed up six of his lieutenants for the seasons ahead.

The contract agreements should also bring direct success to the team, with the riders also capable of chasing their own results when not required to be in the service of Cancellara.

The Trek squad has bought the WorldTour licence currently held by the RadioShack Leopard squad and is thought likely to have both riders and staff from the current team on board next year.

Cancellara has already inked a deal, as have Andy and Frank Schleck, plus Jens Voigt.

Now Stijn Devolder, Markel Irizar, Yaroslav Popovych, Gregory Rast, Hayden Roulston and Jesse Sergent have also been confirmed as coming on board.

“This group of riders has been essential to Fabian's success in 2012 and especially 2013,” explained directeur sportif Dirk Demol. “Their dedication to him was beyond belief. Fabian's name is the one on the roll of honour of the great Classic races that we all love, but these support riders were all ready to sacrifice themselves to the team's interest.

“They are warriors, true unsung heroes. I am delighted and proud that we are able to keep this group together. From here on we keep on working hard, toward many more successes.”

Cancellara’s Swiss compatriot Gregory Rast has raced against him since both were juniors. He’s been a friend of his for many years and a team-mate since 2012. The Tour de Suisse stage winner describes himself as someone who doesn’t like many changes, and so he’s pleased to remain part of a familiar group of riders enxt year.

“We were the world's number one classics team in 2013 and we have the potential to remain the same in the coming years,” the 33 year old said.

He has signed up for a three year period and will race alongside Cancellara for that duration. “Fabian and I go way back. He's one of the greatest Classics riders in the history of our sport and guys like me can achieve greatness too, by supporting him.”

Another strong Classics helper who is extending is Stijn Devolder, who is the same age as Rast. He will remain on board for two more years, and is pleased to stay involved with the management and riders after returning to strong form this year.

“It was not a difficult decision to stay with the team. Luca (Guercilena) and Dirk (Demol) have given me back the confidence I lost for a few years when I was going bad,” he said. “We came to an agreement quickly and I'm really happy to stay aboard this team.”

As much as he’s willing to help Cancellara, he’s also feeling upbeat about the possibility of notching up his own wins. He’s got his confidence back after a tough time. “I had two goals laid out this winter: to be a sound rider again in the Classic races and then to win the Belgian title. Now I’ve ticked off both boxes.

“My ambition for the next years is the same: being a key support rider for Fabian in the Classics and then pick a couple of personal goals later on in the season.”

Yaroslav Popovych is also 33 years of age and, like Devolder, has been given a contract until the end of 2015. “The team spirit and the professionalism of everyone, including Trek, is incredible,” he said. “With Trek stepping up now, I believe we're in for a great ride. The team is great and I'm very happy that Trek wanted to offer me a new contract.”

Basque rider Markel Irizar has been given a three year deal, and said that he takes that as “a great sign of confidence.” He pledges to work very hard to try to reward that trust.

Ditto for Sergent, who also expresses appreciation for the commitment shown by the team. He said that remaining part of the setup was something that he considered the natural thing to do.

“The team has shown real faith in me as a rider and I feel like I'm constantly improving, both in the Classics races and in the time trials. I'm very proud that they continue to believe in my talent and I am determined to return this with a lot of hard work.”

Roulston said that the decision to accept the offer of a contract was an easy one to make. That’s partly down to the camaraderie that he feels on the squad. “It’s one thing to feel good on the bike, but it's equally important to have a good feeling off the bike,” he said. “The Classics group is an incredible bunch of people. We always have a fantastic time when we're on the road.”

“Fabian is such a natural leader that it's an honour for all of us to work for him. I've been a pro rider for ten years now and this is absolutely the best team I've ridden for.”


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