McEwen looks to team switch to help Tour chances
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Monday, December 15, 2008

McEwen looks to team switch to help Tour chances

by Agence France-Presse at 7:25 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Australian Robbie McEwen says he hopes a change of team can help him return to Tour de France glory next year.

McEwen, a 12-time Tour de France stage winner and three-time winner of the green jersey for the Tour's leading sprinter, has switched from Belgium's Silence-Lotto team to Russian-backed Katusha for 2009.

It is a move the 36-year-old Australian hopes can get him back into serious Tour contention after a 2008 season he described as "mediocre."

"It wasn't consistent enough and it came down to my off-season last year - it was a complete disaster," McEwen told reporters here on Monday.

"I had some real problems with injury and I couldn't have a solid off-season of training - I only got really going mid-season.

"This time things are going a lot better and I can have a better start to 2009 than I did this year. I'm confident I can reach the level I've been at - I'm feeling just as good if not better than other years."

Katusha, to be created in 2009 from the Tinkoff formation, is the mainstay of a multi-million dollar new Russian Global Cycling Project foundation which enjoys the backing of energy giant Gazprom.

Apart from McEwen, Katusha has also recruited Russian Vladimir Karpets, Italian Filippo Pozzato and Belgian sprinter Gert Steegmans.

McEwen said he is competing in two events -- madison and derny -- at a track cycling meet in Melbourne on Wednesday.

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