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Bernard Eisel (HTC-Columbia)
Stapleton secures the services of one of Cavendish's key men
HTC-Columbia has announced the re-signing of Bernhard Eisel for the next two seasons. The Austrian is a key element of Mark Cavendish’s lead out train and helped the team to five stages in this year’s Tour de France. Eisel is also a top individual talent in his own right. He won Gent-Wevelgem earlier this year and has a number of top-ten placings in the Spring Classics to his name.
The signing will be seen as many as key stepping stone in HTC-Columbia securing the long-term future of Mark Cavendish, who currently has one year left on his existing contract.
"I'm really happy to be back again," said Eisel. "For me this team is the best because I get the freedom to ride for my own goals in the Classics and I enjoy riding for the best sprinter in the world at the Tour de France, which is my second goal each season."
"We have a lot of fun on this team and together we get stronger and stronger each year so I'm happy with that," he added.
Team manager Rolf Aldag added that Eisel in an integral part to the HTC-Columbia team. The Austrian is certainly one of the most experienced riders in the team and often shepherds Cavendish through the mountainous terrain at the Tour de France. The pair also train together when possible – Eisel went from the Classics to Italy, where he trained with Cavendish before the Tour of California this year.
"Bernie is an integral part of the team and important for us in many ways," said Team Manager Rolf Aldag. "We have a long relationship with him and we rely on him as a road captain, where he does a great job of leading by example on and off the road, and as a leader for the classics."
"A diverse rider like Bernie who has a multifunctional role in the team is essential and we are pleased to have him back for the next two years of racing," added Aldag.