Kjell Carlström wants to develop his skills as a professional bike rider when he joins Dave Brailsford’s Team Sky in 2010. The former Finnish national champion is amongst the international signings announced yesterday for the British squad.
"I had a great time during my five years at Team Liquigas but I felt that it was time for me to move on to new adventures and improve my skills as a bike rider,” he said. “I think Team Sky will offer an excellent environment for working together as a team and especially their team philosophy attracted me. I think there is a lot of potential in this new team and it will be visible when we will be working towards our goals.”
Carlström, whose top finish is a second place on stage eight of the 2006 Tour de France, has his sights firmly set on the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. He hopes the move to Sky, which is aimed at fostering Briton’s talent in the lead up to their home games, will help him build towards this personal goal.
“I believe we will be a team with many riders thinking along the same lines and I think we can build up a great spirit in the team,” he said. “On a personal level I would still like to improve my own abilities and one of my personal goals is to win a stage on a grand tour but being part of a team that performs well in both one day races and in grand tours is also gratifying for me. Working as a domestique on a team that wins does it for me, knowing that I have done my best job possible. Longer term goals are for instance the 2012 Olympic Games.”
"I think I can be a valuable asset working for the the team in all sorts of races, but also in some races get my own good results when the moment presents itself,” he added. “As a fairly experienced rider I also hope to be able to share my knowledge with the younger riders."
Respected sport director Scott Sunderland was full of praise for the Finn. "Kjell Carlström is foremost a reliable rider, he's a very strong climber and you can count on him to be there for his team leader during the big mountain stages in the demanding three week tours,” he said. “Besides that Kjell is a rider who I personally will like to give more freedom with Team sky and let him go for victory himself whenever the situation and/or parcours is suits him.
"I feel that Kjell hasn't reached his highest level as yet, there is still room for improvement and we hope he will blossom with Team sky and that he will be motivated to push his limits further,” he added. “Kjell will certainly prove to be a deluxe domestique in the big stages and we'd like to see him win a few races next season as well."
Sky’s international signings are Edvald Boasson Hagen, Thomas Lövkvist, Kurt Asle Arvesen, Simon Gerrans, Juan Antonio, Flecha, Calström, John Lee Augustyn, Greg Henderson, Las Petter Nordhaug and Morris Possoni. These riders joined previously announced British signings Geraint Thomas, Steve Cummings, Pete Kennaugh, Chris Froome, Ian Stannard and Russell Downing.
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