Having to choose between HTC-Highroad and GreenEdge for 2012 would have been “a very difficult decision” for Leigh Howard. The end of the American team meant, however, that Howard signed for the newly-formed Australian team, where he is looking forward to helping past and future teammate Matthew Goss win Milan-San Remo again, while looking for his own chance in other races.
Howard told Radsport-news.com that he doesn't know how he would have decided between the two teams. He was sorry to see Highroad stop, and said that it was “such a special team, because in the end we were all friends and every race was a lot of fun. Nobody got upset when they had to ride for someone else, because they were helping a friend and teammate.”
Not that 2011, his second pro year, turned out as planned. “Two bad crashes at the start of the year tore up my season planning and then unfortunately nothing else worked out perfectly.” He ended the year with only one win on the road, a stage at the Ster Elektrotoer.
He is thus looking forward in 2012 to “putting together all my hard work from this season and the experience from my first two pro years and winning more races!”
At GreenEdge, Howard will be the junior of a number of top sprinters, but the 22-year-old sees himself as the team's number two sprinter, behind Goss. One of his top goals is to be in at the final of Milan-San Remo, to help Goss take a second consecutive victory, but “with a few exceptions, I will ride a different programme than Matt Goss for most of the season. So I will have the opportunity to find my own chance in sprints and to win as many races as possible.”
Howard is not turning his entire attention to the road, though. After the early races, he will “return to Australia for the track Worlds, where I'm aiming for a third consecutive Madison world title with Cameron Meyer.”