Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project signs Feillu, Clarke and Denifl
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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project signs Feillu, Clarke and Denifl

by Shane Stokes at 10:22 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Talented young riders help build team’s future

Brice FeilluFormer Tour de France stage winner Brice Feillu, Austrian talent Stefan Denifl and the promising Australian Will Clarke have each been confirmed for the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project, and will aid Andy and Frank Schleck next season.

The three riders each have different strengths and will therefore enhance the team in different ways. Feillu made a name for himself when he raced to solo victory on stage 7 of the 2009 Tour de France, willing atop the climb of Andorra Arcalis.

Team manager Kim Andersen believes he will be a strong addition, and will develop further on the Luxembourg. “Brice has already proved himself to be an exceptional climber, and those types of riders are hard to find,” he said. “I think we can help him become an even better racer for the big climbs in the Grand Tours, and he is strong enough to make many invaluable contributions to the team’s Grand Tour ambitions.”

Feillu moved from the French Agritubel team to Vacansoleil at the start of the 2010 season, but as the team was not selected for any of the three-week races, he had limited opportunities. That’s unlikely to be the case next season, as the Luxembourg squad is expected to line out in all three Grand Tours.

The 25 year old is looking forward to the chance to line out alongside some of the other riders already confirmed.

“I know several of the guys who have signed and they are fantastic colleagues which made it an easy choice to join them on this team,” the Frenchman said. “I’m not entirely sure about my personal objectives for the coming season, but I really want to be effective at putting myself in the service of the team.”

Denifl has been racing with the Cervélo Test Team in 2010, originally turned pro with Team Vorarlberg in 2006 and then spending three years with the Elk Haus Simplon squad. He finished seventh in both the Bayern Rundfarht and the Tour of Austria this year, and should keep improving.

“I like the fact that it is a brand new team and I, as a young rider, can grow up along with the team in the next years,” he said, explaining his motivation to sign up. “I have started off well, but I still have to learn and improve myself. I want to do my job as a helper in the team as well as I can. There are so many good riders with a lot of experience, I only can profit and learn from them.”

Andersen has confidence that things will work out well with the 23 year old. “Stefan is very talented and many people already expect a lot of him,” he said. “I know he is a good young rider and will fit well into the team; we will be excited to see how he develops.”

He’s similarly upbeat about Clarke, who has been competing with the Ag2r La Mondiale team as a stagiaire since the start of August. Earlier this year, he was third overall in the Tour of Taiwan and was also fourth in the Australian time trial championships.

“Will is a big Aussie with a huge engine. He caught my eye racing in Belgium this spring, winning kermesse races left and right. That’s no easy feat, so we will obviously look to develop his skills for the Classics.”

For Clarke, the chance to compete alongside and learn from a famous compatriot was too good to pass up. In fact, that Australian played a big part in helping him secure a contract. “I had been racing in Belgium and then stayed with a friend in Monaco where I met Stuart O’Grady,” the 25 year old said. “I think O’Grady really helped me and pushed for me to win a spot on the team. To work with people like him and the other guys in the squad will be a huge learning opportunity for me.”

Overall, Andersen believes the team has profited well from the trio’s signing. “We have really big expectations for these riders,” he said.

The full lineup of the team has yet to be confirmed, but thus far the roster includes the Schleck brothers, Jakob Fuglsang, O’Grady, Jens Voigt and Dominic Klemme, who all move across from the Saxo Bank team, as well as Daniele Bennati, Linus Gerdemann, Maxime Monfort, Giacomo Nizzolo, Bruno Pires, Davide Viganò, Fabian Wegmann and Wouter Weylandt. World time trial champion Fabian Cancellara is strongly tipped to also be part of the team.

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