Sergio Paulinho signs two year contract with Saxo Bank-SunGard
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Monday, September 19, 2011

Sergio Paulinho signs two year contract with Saxo Bank-SunGard

by VeloNation Press at 7:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Riis believes Portuguese rider will be both a strong team-mate and an individual winner

Sergio PaulinhoAfter two years with the RadioShack team, the 2010 Tour de France stage winner Sergio Paulinho has signed a two year deal to ride alongside former Astana team-mate Alberto Contador.

The 31 year old Olympic silver medallist will move to the Saxo Bank-SunGard team at the end of the season and is looking forward to a new beginning.

“I am really happy and excited about joining Saxo Bank-SunGard,” the Portuguese rider said. “The team has always been a reference point for me personally, and I'm excited to work with Bjarne Riis, a director I've always admired. It's an important step in my career and I'm looking forward to next season already.”

Sergio Paulinho joins Saxo Bank-SunGard from American team, RadioShack. Here the Portuguese rider collected the biggest win of his career, stage 10 in the 2010 Tour de France. Before that, Paulinho was a team-mate of Alberto Contador at Astana.

Having turned professional in 2003 with the small ASC-Vila do Conde squad, he has been with five teams since then. A year at LA Pecol was followed by two with Liberty Seguros-Wurth, where he raced alongside Alberto Contador. He remained with the Spaniard for the next three seasons, racing on the Discovery Channel team in 2007 and Astana between 2008 and 2009. He then moved to Team RadioShack for a two year spell.

In that time he has clocked up some strong results, including second behind Paolo Bettini in the 2004 Olympic road race in Athens, a stage win in the 2006 Vuelta a España, team time trial victory in the Tour de France in 2009 and then a strong individual stage win the following season.

This year was a quieter one, although he went close to a stage win in the Vuelta on stage 11 to Noja. He attacked approximately thirty kilometres from the finish and built a solid lead, but was hauled back two and a half kilometres from the line. He was also fifth on the eleventh stage.

Riis clearly thinks a lot of the rider and is looking forward to working with him. “Sergio is a fantastic signing for our team. He is versatile and a world class support rider,” he said. “He brings a lot of experience, he knows how to position himself in the peloton and his tactical skills are great. He rides a solid TT and in peak form he is solid in the mountains as well. This combination will definitely be of great use for us, especially in the Grand Tours.

He emphasises that he doesn’t just envisage him playing a team role. “At the same time I also see him as a rider that can win races on his own,” he said. “He was close to winning a stage in this year's Vuelta a Espana, and it speaks for itself, when you have stage victories in both the Tour de France and the Vuelta on your palmares.”

VeloNation will publish a long interview with Paulinho soon.


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