Wetterhall looking for new contract for 2011, caught out by Cervélo Test Team’s folding
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wetterhall looking for new contract for 2011, caught out by Cervélo Test Team’s folding

by Shane Stokes at 2:39 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Stagiaire joins team-mates in hunt for a new deal

Alex WetterhallThe promising young Swedish rider Alexander Wetterhall is aiming for a strong showing in his remaining six days of racing with the Cervélo Test Team, hoping to use those races as a platform to secure a pro deal for next season.

The 24 year old is just one of many who has been left short by the team’s decision not to continue next season. Several riders have got something sorted out, with Thor Hushovd, Heinrich Haussler, Brett Lancaster, Roger Hammond, Dan Lloyd, Andreas Klier and Gabriel Rasch moving to Garmin, Carlos Sastre going to Team Geox and Xavier Tondo heading to Movistar.

However many of the others have been left high and dry by the unexpected news and, like Wetterhall, are under pressure to do something before the end of the year.

Ironically, he had arguably clocked up strong enough results in the first couple of weeks of his stagiaire trial to push the case for a contract.

“After Denmark I thought that I had a big chance,” he told VeloNation, speaking about his excellent seventh place in the time trial and solid 25th overall. “But after the news about the team, things are really complicated for me. I hope to find a team at the top level of the sport, to take the next step and improve myself even more. To find one that appreciates me as a rider and a person, and likes the way I race.”

Like the other Cervélo Test Team riders, Wetterhall must have thought he was in a bad nightmare last week when the news emerged that the team was stopping. It has only been part of the men’s peloton for just over a year and a half, and many expected that it would be around for quite some time to come.

“I was contacted on the 24th but Cervélo didn´t have much info then,” he revealed. “Before then, I was told I had everything for a contract to 2011, but that now maybe the team will fold. Then on the 26th I saw the press release on the internet...

“Before all this, I was worried that maybe I wouldn’t be good enough for the team, and that I wouldn’t get a contract for 2011,” he said. “But I didn´t have something like this in my mind, that I would not get a contract because the team folds. The other riders that I have been speaking too have also been shocked and very sad about it. Everybody thinks that this was a great team, and a big loss that it ends.”

Developing well:

The former mountain bike rider showed his talent for road competition when he won last year’s Swedish time trial championships. In May, he won took fourth in the Lincoln International Grand Prix and then won the 2.2-ranked FBD Insurance Rás. In June, the Team Sprocket rider then nabbed a stage of the Ringerike Grand Prix. Those results secured a trial with the Cervélo team.

Things have been going well thus far, starting with that Danish performance. “The Tour of Denmark was my first race with the team. I was nervous before it, racing with the big boys in their own team and with a director sportif as Jean-Paul van Poppel controlling things.

“It ended up really well anyway and I got myself a great time-trial [seventh] and a good GC position as 25th. I was really happy to be part of the team and I got on very well. I was doing a lot of work for the team and the boys where happy to have me there. It was had a lot of support from Jean Paul Van Poppel at the time trial – it was great to have a person like him at that level of the sport to say that he was truly impressed by my ride. I like stage racing...

“Then the second race was this weekend in Chateauroux, France [where he was 40th]. My work was to cover moves and I did.” Wetterhall got into a big break early on, was brought back, helped chase the subsequent move and then managed to get back on after puncturing close to the finishing circuit. He rolled in 40th.

“There was not the same spirit between the boys, though, after the news about the closing of the team. It was different to Denmark. But we got on well anyway.”

The Bike Pure supporter's clear aim now is to clock up enough good results to ensure that he has a deal for next year. Wetterhall said that former pro Magnus Backstedt is helping him to look around; the Paris-Roubaix winner owns the Team Sprocket squad the young rider raced with earlier this season, and would like to see his protégée get the kind of top pro deal he talent justifies.

In the meantime, Wetterhall will keep his focus on racing. He is due to ride Paris-Brussels on Saturday week [September 11], then the GP Fourmies one day later. After that, he has the Tour de Vendée [September 26], the Sparkassen Münsterland Giro [October 3rd], the Coppa G.Sabatini or Paris-Bourges [October 7th] and Paris-Tours [October 10th] on his programme.

That gives him six shots to hit the target; six opportunities to encourage another big squad to step forward, offer a contract, and put its faith in him.


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