Fabian Cancellara has confirmed that he will ride for the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project in 2011. He confirmed his signing to Sporza at a ceremony in Brussels, where he was given an award as cyclist of the year by the International Association of Cycling Journalists.
The team later confirmed the contract will run for three-years and that the current world time trial champion is the last signing for the newly-formed team.
"Signing a rider like Cancellara, we have added one of the most significant athletes and personalities in professional cycling,” said team manager Brian Nygaard. “He brings an amazing amount of depth and quality to the project and we’re extremely proud to have him on board.”
"I had many interesting options, but in the end I knew that the project in Luxembourg would have all the ingredients I would need to continue improving myself without skipping a beat," Cancellara said. "It is a unique mix of familiar personalities with new surroundings which will ensure continuity while instilling a new motivation to make this project the most successful in cycling."
"My goal of winning more monuments is still in the forefront of my mind. That would be a great accomplishment, and I wanted to come to a team that would provide the structure I would need to work meaningfully towards this.”
"In addition to that, I’m happy that the team is perfectly placed to make its mark in the Grand Tours and most importantly find the top step on the Champs Elysées; to be a part of a Tour-winning team is one of the most beautiful accomplishments any pro cyclist can hope for."
The riders and staff will gather for the first time in the Swiss ski resort of Crans Montana on December 6. Thanks to Cancellara’s results in 2009 and 2010, including his victories at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, the team is ranked top of the UCI’s sporting criterion used to award ProTeam licences.
"His signing merely tops off a strong squad. As far as the quality of riders and indeed staff goes, we really are lucky enough to have a tremendous line-up of people," Nygaard said "It does mean that we have quite a responsibility living up to our own high expectations – on all levels. But we are confident in the abilities of this great group of people and proud to be taking this project forward for all the fans of professional cycling.”
"Reading over the list of riders and staff we have signed gives us the confidence to believe that we have succeeded in that initial goal,” Nygaard said. “The proof is of course making it happen on the road and we will not go into the season thinking we have already won races. We are confident but keeping our feet on the ground, knowing that the hard part starts now.”
"We are now ready to gather everyone in Switzerland for our first team meeting. It will be important that we all get to know each other on a friendly, relaxed basis and make certain that everyone starts the season on the same page."
Cancellara had been rumoured to be joining Andy and Fränk Schleck at their new team for several weeks and will ride alongside other former Saxo Bank teammates.
Cancellara turned pro in 2001 with Mapei and also rode for Fassa Bortolo before joining CSC, later Saxo Bank, in 2006. As well as Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders, this season he also won the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen and the prologue of the Tour de Suisse. He won both the prologue and time trial at the Tour of France, wearing the leader's yellow jersey for six stages. He ended a great season by winning the world time trial title for the fourth time.
The complete Luxembourg Cycling Project roster for 2011 consists of 25 riders: Fränk and Andy Schleck, Daniele Bennati, Will Clarke, Stefan Denifl, Brice Feillu, Jakob Fuglsang, Linus Gerdemann, Dominic Klemme, Anders Lund, Maxime Monfort, Martin Mortensen, Giacomo Nizzolo, Stuart O’Grady, Martin Pedersen, Bruno Pires, Joost Posthuma, Tom Stamsneijder, Davide Viganò, Jens Voigt, Robert Wagner, Fabian Wegmann, Wouter Weylandt and Oliver Zaugg.