Thor Hushovd has been confirmed as the first member of Cervélo TestTeam to join Garmin-Cervélo for the 2011 season. The news isn’t unexpected – along with Heinrich Haussler, Roger Hammond and Andreas Klier, the Norwegian was reported earlier this week to be moving across to Garmin for next year.
However, coming days after the announcement that Cervélo TestTeam will cease to exist at the end of this season, with the Canadian brand replacing Felt as bike supplier to Garmin- Cervélo as the new outfit will be known, the signing does demonstrate that Garmin-Transitions owner, Slipstream Sports, is serious about using its new relationship with Cervélo to target the Classics.
Twice a top-three Paris-Roubaix finisher, and winner of this year’s Stage 3 of the Tour de France that went over many of the same cobbles, Hushovd also won the green jersey in last year’s Tour de France and is currently racing in the Vuelta a Espana.
Speaking about his move to Garmin-Cervélo, Hushovd said: “I’m proud to join Team Garmin-Cervélo in 2011. Cervélo has been a great supporter for the past two years and its partnership with Garmin feels like a good fit,” said Hushovd.
“I chose Garmin-Cervélo because I have a lot of respect for what Jonathan Vaughters has done for cycling, because I think we’ll have a very strong, competitive team, and because I’ll be able to continue to work with Cervélo. I look forward to seeing what we can all do together next year.”
Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of team owner Slistream Sports, said: "We are incredibly excited to bring Thor to the team in 2011. One of our goals is to become stronger in the Classics, and adding a world-class rider like Thor will get us there. He’s an exceptionally talented rider and a great fit for our new team.”
Hushovd’s attempt to retain his green jersey in last month’s Tour de France fell flat as he finished off the pace in bunch sprints, with five-times stage winner Mark Cavendish and eventual points classification winner Alessandro Petacchi of Lampre Farnese Vini both proving quicker in the finale, and other riders such as Katusha’s Robbie McEwen also proving more consistent when it came to bunch finishes.
With new team mate Tyler Farrar also proving much more competitive in the sprint this season – although his Tour de France campaign was eventually curtailed through injury - Hushovd will now concentrate on one-day races rather than the Grand Tours, although you'd imagine that he could also prove to be a huge asset to Farrar in the leadout.
“I’m going to focus my season on the Classics,” he explained. “My biggest goal is to get one major Classics victory in 2011. I’ve come close over the past few years so I will build on that experience and hopefully, stand on the podium with my new team.”
The full team roster is due to be finalised in October, and Garmin- Cervélo will also be taking over the running of Cervélo TestTeam’s women’s squad, as well as fielding a men’s under-23 outfit.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.