Team Sky adds Servais Knaven and Nicolas Portal to directing staff
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Team Sky adds Servais Knaven and Nicolas Portal to directing staff

by Ben Atkins at 3:21 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Veteran Dutchman and recently retired Frenchman to strengthen British team’s staff

servais knavenTeam Sky has announced the signing of two new race directors for 2011 in the shape of Servais Knaven and Nicolas Portal. Knaven is new to the team after spending the season with Milram, while Portal makes the transition from the Sky rider roster.

39-year-old Knaven retired earlier in the year after 17 years as a professional rider, before making he move upstairs to a director’s role at Milram. He moves over to Sky after the loss of the German team.

He was a famously hardworking rider, racing for teams like TVM, Farm Frites, Quick Step and T-Mobile/Highroad. His best result by far came in 2001 when he won the Paris-Roubaix, a race that he kept a special affinity for; he retired shortly after this year’s edition, having started and finished a record 16 times.

"I am really happy to have this opportunity and am really looking forward to it,” he said. "To join a new team like this one now is just amazing. Not only are Team Sky giving young riders a chance, they are also giving young directors a chance as well, and there is absolutely nowhere else I'd rather be.”

Heart problems this season forced the retirement of Portal, and restricted him to just 47 days of racing. Although he will no longer be racing his bike he is happy to be staying at the top of the sport.

"Cycling has always been my passion and to get this opportunity to stay in the sport is great news for me,” he said. "It's going to be little strange at first making that transition from rider to DS, especially as a lot of these guys were my team-mates this season, but it's something I'm sure I'll manage and knowing the guys so well already will be a big advantage.”

Established Sky director Sean Yates is pleased to have the two new directors on the team.

"Obviously Nicolas was with us last year as a rider and he proved to be an intelligent and friendly guy,” he said. “It was unfortunate that he couldn't continue with racing, but becoming a DS is a great option for him and his experience as a rider within the team will also benefit us.

"Servais is also starting his DS career with us and over the years has accumulated a huge amount of racing know-how,” he added. “His expertise on the Classics races means he will form a formidable duo with Steven de Jongh when we hit those races next season.

"Nicolas and Servais are great additions to the existing DS team and I'm looking forward to working with all of them in the 2011 season," Yates concluded.

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