Paris-Tours runner-up Angelo Furlan signs for Christina Watches-Onfone
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Paris-Tours runner-up Angelo Furlan signs for Christina Watches-Onfone

by Jered Gruber at 6:56 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Italian sprinter will lend some much needed sprinting qualities to Michael Rasmussen's new Danish team

Last year's second place finisher behind Oscar Freire at Paris-Tours, Angelo Furlan, has finally found an employer for 2011: Michael Rasmussen's Christina Watches-Onfone team.

The 33 year old Italian had a lackluster 2010 campaign, but came very close to victory on one of the most vaunted finishing straights in all of cycling, the Avenue de Grammont. Unfortunately, Furlan did not win Paris-Tours that day. If he had, he might have found himself with another contract with Lampre, or, a much better shot at a contract with another ProTeam, instead, he was left without a deal for 2011 until now.

"I had no doubts when I got Christina's offer - the team was just a team that I simply had to race for. I've seen the team shaping up, and it is my assessment that we are arguably Denmark's strongest Continental team," said the sprinter.

In 2002, Furlan showed himself as one of the hottest sprinters around following a sizzling Vuelta a España in which he managed two stage victories. His career never quite lifted off from there, though. The native of Arzignano didn't win anything in 2003, then won the Coppa Bernocchi in 2004, a stage in both the Etoile Besseges and Circuit de la Sarthe two years later in 2007, then a stage in three races in 2008: Etoile Besseges again, the Volta ao Distrito de Santarem, and the Tour de Pologne. Along with his Vuelta wins in 2002, Furlan's biggest win came in 2009 with Stage 2 at the Criterium Dauphine Libere.

He has scored more than a few wins, but the overall theme of his career has been one as a second tier sprinter. Close, but most of the time, just not quite there. He has also fared reasonably well in the Classics and other tough one day races, including a 23rd place finish at Paris-Roubaix in 2009.

The move to the Christina Watches team could be a chance for both sides: a chance for Furlan to get his sprinting ways in order and assume his spot as a leading sprinter in the world, and a chance for Christina Watches to win a lot of races on the legs of a talented sprinter. Second place at Paris-Tours in a field sprint does not come to a rider who can't sprint.

Talking about his new opportunity with his new team, Furlan is happy to not only have a job, but for the new challenges.

"My task is clear: each time the peloton arrives at the finish together, I need to win races. I look forward to 2011 being a year where I get to the top of the podium often...not least in the Tour of Denmark, which is the most important race for us."

Unfortunately for Furlan, it's up in the air as to whether the team will be taking part in the Tour of Denmark this year. The name of Michael Rasmussen is anathema to the national tour's organizers. It will be interesting to see if their tone softens throughout the year, or if the team will be left watching the country's biggest race on TV.

No matter what happens with the Tour of Denmark though, the Furlan signing was a solid one and should be a good move for both sides.

Now, the question is: will Jörg Jaksche follow?




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