Belgian bolsters Classics strength

The Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda has signed 32-year-old Classics specialist, Nick Nuyens in a three-year deal that will see him ride for Jonathan Vaughters' team until the end of 2015.

"I am really happy to join Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda. I have always admired and been charmed by them," said Nuyens. "The team is well structured, has a super team spirit and it's just a really strong squad with a good mix of young talent and a lot of experience. I'm looking forward to being a part of it."

Nuyens, who hails from Lier, Belgium, turned professional in 2003 for Quick Step-Davitamon where he stayed for four years, winning the Ster Elektrotoer, Paris–Brussels, the GP de Wallonie twice, the Tour of Britain, the Omloop Het Volk and Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne.

Moving to Cofidis for 2007 and 2008, he was less successful on team that didn't make the Classics such a central target, but still took the overall in the Étoile de Bessèges stage race and a stage of the Eneco Tour of Benelux.

With Rabobank in 3009 and 2010 Nuyens again won GP de Wallonie, and a stage of the Tour of Austria.

His biggest wins came in 2011 with the Flanders double of the Tour of Flanders and Dwars door Vlaanderen while riding for Saxo Bank-SunGard.

While Garmin is perhaps best known for targeting stage race wins, including Ryder Hesjedal's overall victory in this year's Giro d'Italia, he team has a decent track record in the Classics and major one-day races. Sep Vanmarcke won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad this year, and Johan Vansummeren scored his and the team's greatest Classic victory in the 2011 Paris-Roubaix.

Team CEO Jonathan Vaughters clearly wants more Classics wins. "Nick is a huge talent and we are thrilled that he will be joining Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda next season," he said.

"We have wanted to continue to bolster our Classics team, and Nick is obviously a tremendous addition for us. His talent, experience and deep knowledge of these races will be invaluable. We are very happy he chose Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda and we look forward to an exciting season."