Luxembourg Team announces three new sports directors
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Luxembourg Team announces three new sports directors

by Ben Atkins at 10:27 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Luca Guercilena, Torsten Schmidt and Lars Michaelsen join Fränk and Andy Schleck’s as yet unnamed team

andy schleckWith most of its roster of riders signed up for next season the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project, the team built around brothers Fränk and Andy Schleck, has announced the signing of three sports directors. Luca Guercilena will join the team from Quick Step, while Torsten Schmidt and Lars Michaelsen both join after having been at Team Saxo Bank; both Schmidt and Michaelsen have worked alongside the team’s General Manager Brian Nygaard and Team Manager Kim Andersen, as well as both of the Schleck brothers, while at the Danish team.

Guercilena began his career as a trainer at the Mapei sports centre and joined the Quick Step team as a director in 2003. He has a great deal of experience working with young riders, having coached riders like Fabian Cancellara, Filippo Pozzato and Allan Davis in the Mapei under-23 team.

“We are very lucky to have attracted Luca Guercilena to this team,” said Nygaard. “With his background and depth of knowledge on the sporting as well as physiological level, he will have a huge impact on the success of the team. Luca was one of the first people I had in mind when this team became reality and I’m thrilled to have him on board. To me, Luca really personifies a lot of what this team is about.”

Schmidt spent six years as a rider at Gerolsteiner, before ending his riding career with two years at team Wiesenhof. In 2008 he started work as a sports director at CSC-Saxo Bank, where he has been ever since.

“Torsten is hands-down one of the best young sports directors in professional cycling and he was an obvious candidate for a leading role in the team,” Nygaard explained. “He has made the transition from rider to sports director in the best possible way and he has clearly shown the ability to lead a successful team regardless if its racing a Grand Tour, a Classic or a smaller event. Torsten wants to win, but he never deviates from the fact that a team needs to function on all levels from riders to staff working behind the scenes, and that will be an important part of the project.”

Michaelsen was a professional rider for 14 years, and was a specialist in the cobbled classics, twice finishing fifth in Paris-Roubaix. He ended his career in mid 2007, while riding with CSC, and moved into a sports director role.

“I’m very happy that we’re going to work with Lars,” said Nygaard. “He brings a professional attitiude and a great set of human skills to this team. His meticulous attention to detail and his feel for racing will be a solid addition to our management. Lars has an international outlook and I’m sure he will be a major part of our future success.

“It is key for me that we can combine the idea of being humble because we’re a new team with a winning attitude that reflects the fantastic group of people we have gathered,” Nygaard added.

With the sports directors and the majority of the riders signed, the contracts with the team’s bike and car suppliers agreed, and the ProTeam application registered with the UCI, all that remains is for the team’s sponsor to be announced.


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