Rast signs two year deal with Leopard Trek, Mouris to GreenEdge
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Monday, August 22, 2011

Rast signs two year deal with Leopard Trek, Mouris to GreenEdge

by VeloNation Press at 5:14 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Riders signed to support team leaders

Gregory RastSwitching from Team RadioShack to Leopard Trek, former Swiss national champion Grégory Rast has inked a two year deal with the team and will support compatriot Fabian Cancellara.

Although Cancellara has bigger results the duo have similarities, being both strong Classics riders with time trial abilities. The 31 year old Rast finished fourth in this year’s Paris-Roubaix, and previously won the 2007 Tour of Luxembourg. He also took the prologue two years later, as well as winning the sprints classification at the Tour de Romandie.

Team manager Kim Andersen explained the thinking behind the signing. “Grégory is a strong and stable rider that will fit in perfectly well with the team,” he said. “He has proven to be one of those riders that love to ride races like Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. Grégory is a big engine and he will be a worthy support rider to Fabian Cancellara in the cobblestone classics.”

While his RadioShack team has been going through a very mixed season, Leopard Trek has been world number one this year and has taken many top results. Rast is pleased to move across. “It's great to be able to commit my future to Leopard Trek,” he said. “I’m really proud that a big and strong team like this shows an interest in me. This team has some of the greatest stage racers in the world, the Schleck brothers, and with Fabian Cancellara, they have the best Classic rider of the last five years. This team is really strong on every terrain.”

He’ll finish out his season with his current team, then join up with his team-mates at the end of season training camps. Looking forward, he said that he is eager to start racing alongside Cancellara, who he knows since they were juniors.

“The Tour of Flanders is my all-time favourite race. Over the years I have also learned to love Paris-Roubaix. I’m hoping to support him towards success in those races.”

Rast’s palmares suggests that he could also be prominent in the finale of both. The expected outcome in that situation is that he would sacrifice his chances for Cancellara, but having two options is tactically also a big boost for a team.

Mouris moves from Vacansoleil to GreenEdge:

Meanwhile the new Australian GreenEdge team has announced the signing of one of the biggest riders in the professional peloton, the 197 centimetre, 91 kilogram (6 foot 5, 200 lbs) Jens Mouris. The former European track champion, World Cup winner and world track championship silver medallist has competed with the Vacansoleil team for the past three years, turning his sole focus to the road in that time. He is being brought on board in order to provide assistance to the team leaders for the spring Classics.

GreenEdge general manager Shayne Bannan explained the thinking behind the signing. “When recruiting riders to protect our leaders it’s a great advantage to have a guy as big as Jens that also knows how to hold and handle his bike on the tricky roads of the big cobblestoned Classics,” he said.

“A measure of how strong Jens is can be found in him having won the prologue at the Olympia’s Tour and the Tour of Zeeland, along with taking fourth in the prologue at the Vuelta a España behind the likes of Fabian Cancellara a few years ago.”

Bannan points out that he will be the third Dutch signing for the team, joining Sebastian Langeveld and Pieter Weening, and that while it is predominantly an Australian squad, it is beneficial to have a mixture of nationalities there.

Mouris is moving from a Dutch team and said that he is looking forward to the opportunity to see something different. “I love Australia and the Australian mentality towards sports, so when I got the chance to be part of that, I didn't hesitate,” Mouris said. “I think I can benefit from the atmosphere and coaching on the team.

“My main ambition is to do well for the team in the spring classics, Grand Tours and try to be in the team that rides the team time trial world championships. And maybe get a win myself.”

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