Speculation is growing that Fabian Cancellara has reached a deal to ride with the new Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project in 2011.
Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen claims that BMC, Team Sky and the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project all wanted to sign the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix winner. They were all were willing to cover the three million Euro fee Cancellara apparently agreed to pay Bjarne Riis to get out of his contract at Saxo Bank but he has opted to ride alongside many of his former teammates at the new Luxembourg-based team.
Cancellara is currently on holiday and Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project team manager Brian Nygaard refused to comment on the report. However Gazet van Antwerpen claims that Team Sky has confirmed Cancellara will not ride with them in 2011. The paper also suggests the deal can now go ahead because Riis has been paid and so released Cancellara from his contract.
Cyclingnews understands that BMC owner Andy Rihs offered to create a line of special Cancellara BMC bikes to convince him to join the Swiss-based team. But Cancellara seems to have preferred the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project.
Cancellara recently told the French Vélo Magazine that he would prefer to ride in a team where he knows his teammates.
"The most important thing is to be with the people I feel comfortable with. I need my mechanic and my soigneur. I need to be in a perfect environment. In joining an environment that I don't know yet, I could lose one year. I thought a lot about it at the Worlds and this played into my performance,” he said.
BMC’s Andy Rihs admitted that he had failed to sign Cancellara despite making a substantial offer. "He did not reply to our proposal. As I don't have any news from him, I expect him to go with the Schlecks. And as we made him a very good offer, I suppose that there is more money elsewhere," Rihs told L'Equipe at the presentation of the 2011 Tour de France last week.