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As expected, veteran Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen and South African speedster Robbie Hunter are each joining Team RadioShack for 2011. The pair had both been part of the foundering Pegasus Sports program.
“The two Robbies fit perfectly in our group, which is a mixture of experienced and young riders,” said team boss Johan Bruyneel in a statement Thursday. “I feel sad for the riders and staff of the Pegasus project, but most of the riders deserve to race at the highest level of professional cycling. I am happy to have been able to offer two of the guys that opportunity. Moreover, we can really use both riders; they are real finishers and winners. They are both very fast and don’t need a real sprinter’s train to bring them to the last kilometer. They are ‘self-sufficient’ and will also be a wealth of knowledge for our young riders.”
Team RadioShack for 2011
Lance Armstrong (USA), Fumiyuki Beppu (Japan), Sam Bewley (New Zealand), Jani Brajkovic (Slovenia), Matthew Busche (USA), Manuel Cardoso (Portugal), Philip Deignan (Ireland), Ben Hermans (Belgium), Chris Horner (USA), Robbie Hunter (South Africia), Markel Irizar (Spain), Ben King (USA), Andreas Klöden (Germany), Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland), Levi Leipheimer (USA), Geoffroy Lequatre (France), Tiago Machado (Portugal), Jason McCartney (USA), Robbie McEwen (Australia), Dmitriy Muravyev (Kazakhstan), Nélson Oliveira (Portugal), Sérgio Paulinho (Portugal), Yaroslav Popovych (Ukraine), Gregory Rast (Switzerland), Sébastien Rosseler (Belgium), Ivan Rovny (Russia), Jesse Sergent (New Zealand, Bjørn Selander (USA) and Haimar Zubeldia (Spain).
“We were interested in both riders and they were interested in racing for our team. It still took some days to finalize the agreements as our budget for 2011 was almost closed. We had to redo our homework and we will have to economize on some other aspects but it will be worth it,” said Bruyneel. “Robbie McEwen is not the youngest guy in the peloton, but in our team we know exactly what riders are capable of at a certain age. Robbie proved this year that he is still able to win ProTour races. Moreover, I count on him to help our very young, talented riders in the team find their way in the peloton. As far as Robbie Hunter is concerned, we welcome him in the Team a year later than planned as we had we wanted him for Team RadioShack at the end of 2009. Finally our patience paid off.”
McEwen said it was a relief to sign a contract so near to the start of the 2011 season, which he expects to be his last in the pro peloton. “When it became obvious that I had to look for another team, Team RadioShack really was my first choice. That’s why I contacted Lance. Afterwards Johan Bruyneel offered me the environment I was looking for. I am happy and grateful. I still know and believe that I am one of the fastest sprinters in the world. The young guys like Cavendish, Farrar or Greipel are tough to beat but I know that I am still amongst that group of elite sprinters. I still have a lot to offer. I just don’t want to ride one more year just to ride along in the bunch. I want to perform well and go away on a high.”
Hunter said RadioShack will suit him well. “As the Team didn’t have many sprinters, I will have my place over there. The team directors know exactly what I am worth in a team. I’ve proved in the past that I have no problem sacrificing my chances for another rider, as I did last year for Tylar Farrar. Also in 2011 the Team can count on me and I know that they will give me the opportunity to do my own sprints too.”
Team RadioShack for Cancer Council Classic, Adelaide, Australia, January 16: Lance Armstrong, Manuel Cardoso, Ben Hermans, Markel Irizar, Robbie McEwen, Gregory Rast & Sébastien Rosseler. Directors: José Azevedo & Dirk Demol
Team RadioShack for Santos Tour Down Under January 18-23: Lance Armstrong, Manuel Cardoso, Ben Hermans, Markel Irizar, Robbie McEwen, Gregory Rast & Sébastien Rosseler. Directors: José Azevedo & Dirk Demol