The Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project has today announced three more signings to join its growing roster which includes the Schleck brothers and Jens Voigt from Saxo Bank, who will now be joined in 2011 by the erstwhile team mate Dominic Klemme from Germany as well as the Belgian pairing of Quick Step’s Wouter Weylandt and HTC-Columbia’s Maxime Monfort.
Bryan Nygaard however has scotched rumours that the team will race under the name ‘Leopard True Racing’ next year – those words appeared at the top of the press release containing today’s announcement, but refers only to the management company, Leopard.
The outfit, which has yet to announce its headline sponsor, says that its three latest signings “will add important layers of value and skill at all levels of the Luxembourg team’s campaigns: one day, one week and three week races throughout the season.”
The 27-year-old Monfort, winner of the overall title in the Bayern-Rundfahrt this year and a strong time triallist – he’s a former Belgian champion – has seven years’ experience in the pro peloton, and Nygaard said he was “the perfect example of the all-rounder. He is able to excel in all types of races, on the flats or in the hills.”
The Belgian rider certainly isn’t lacking in enthusiasm for the opportunities he sees his new team as providing. “When I heard about the possibility of this team being created, I became very interested very quickly,” he explained. “Now I am extremely motivated by the idea of riding alongside such fantastic athletes in our attempt to win some of the Northern Classics and indeed carry the yellow jersey to the Champs Elysées,” a reference to the Schleck brothers’ target of Tour de France success.
“He is really a team player and will be very valuable to the project,” continued Nygaard. “Whether he is working for individual results or for team results, he is the type of rider that is strong the whole year long. That says a lot about his character and about how seriously he takes his job.”
Monfort agrees that the experience he has gained with teams such as Cofidis and HTC-Columbia make him a valuable addition to the roster. “Personally, I would like to perform well in one week tours and regain my National Time Trialling Champion for Belgium title,” he maintained, “But also after seven years in the peloton, I think I do have a certain experience which I will be happy to share with the younger riders on the team, too.”
Weylandt, meanwhile, has proven pedigree as a Vuelta and Giro d’Italia stage winner, but has also been recruited to assist the team in its Classics campaing, revealed Nygaard. “By signing Wouter, I think we have pulled off a real coup,” he said. “He is young but won a stage each in the Giro and Vuelta this year [ed's note - his Vuelta stage win actually came in 2008], and both stages were brutal days, not at all tailor-made for a sprinter.”
“I've chosen this team because it's a new project so everybody will be super
motivated; after more than six years in the same team, it will be good for me to
have some fresh air and new people around me,” said Weylandt.
“This is a good moment in my career to learn new things about cycling and see some new visions," he added. “I want to show that I’m more than a regular sprinter. After two winters of dealing with knee problems I want to prove that I’m able to have good results and performances in the classics,” continued the 26-year-old.
“He has astounding natural ability and a great attitude,” added Nygaard. “He can definitely grow into an even better rider for the spring classics.”
Klemme, aged 23 and a former German under-23 rider, is the youngest of the three latest signings, and believes that joining the new squad can help him grow as a racer. “I have worked with many of the team members in the past years, and believe that I will be able to develop myself further within its structure,” he explained.
“Next season I definitely want to get some results in the Classics; I’m really looking forward to the opportunity and am very lucky to be a part of this team,” added the German, who finished 14th in Paris-Roubaix this year in a race won by Saxo Bank team mate Fabian Cancellara.
“Dominic is coming of age and ready to move up to that next level,” said Nygaard. “He has been quietly developing his talent in a way that suits him and means that he will become a very valued member of our team.”
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.