Kurt Asle Arvesen has said that he tried to persuade Fabian Cancellara to sign for Team Sky but admitted that the world time trial champion seems destined to sign for the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project.
“We were definitely in the fight for Fabian Cancellara,” Arvesen told procycling.no. “Sky would go to great lengths to get hold of him.”
Arvesen spent four years riding alongside Cancellara at CSC and Saxo Bank before joining Sky ahead of the 2010 season. When Cancellara recently freed himself from his contract at Saxo Bank, Arvesen himself played a part in seeking to tempt him to switch to the British squad.
“I even talked to Fabian about a possible move here, but I understood early on that he was not very interested,” Arvesen explained. “I think Fabian was more interested in riding for the Luxembourg team. All of his closest friends in cycling will be there next season.”
The Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project will feature a number of former Saxo Bank riders, including Andy and Fränk Schleck, Stuart O’Grady and Jens Voigt, and it is widely anticipated that Cancellara will also join the team.
Even though Cancellara looks set to ignore Team Sky’s overtures, Arvesen believes that the team has conducted a very solid transfer campaign to date. The Norwegian is convinced that new arrivals of the calibre of Michael Rogers will ensure that the squad will be significantly stronger in its second season of existence.
“We should be good enough to be competing to be one of the best eight teams in the ProTour, but of course we will need more points,” Arvesen said. “I think that Michael Rogers is an exciting rider for us, for example. He has had an incredible career, and he is a rider who can be there at Paris-Nice and in other such stage races. It will give us important ProTour points.”
As well as Rogers, Sky has snapped up a number of other solid riders in recent weeks, including Jeremy Hunt (Cervélo) and Caisse d’Epargne duo Xavier Zandio and Rigoberto Uran.
“Jeremy Hunt is going to go straight into the squad for the classics. He is a well-liked rider and has experience that will be invaluable to us,” Arvesen said. “Rigoberto Uran is still only 23 years old and we’ve only glimpsed his full potential. Xavier Zandio will also be a very exciting rider, although I’m not familiar with him personally.”
Meanwhile, the team has also signed young English talent Alex Dowsett, and Arvesen maintains that acquisitions such as this constitute a significant investment for the future of Team Sky.
“Alex is a rising star. Moreover, he is a young Briton, and so he's even more interesting for us."