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Stuard O'Grady (Saxo Bank)
Australian to use 16 years' pro experience as road captain
Stuart O'Grady is the latest new signing to be announced by the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project. The 37-year-old will be road captain for the new team, sharing his experience from 16 years as a professional cyclist with the young riders on the team.
"Stuart is a real legend and probably among the most phenomenal athletes of his generation,” team general manager Brian Nygaard said. “He has won everything worth winning on the track, as well as an impressive list of victories on the road, topped off by claiming one of the most beautiful recent editions of Paris-Roubaix.
“Stuart is technically brilliant and has a very sound mind,” Nygaard said. “He is instrumental in setting up a road strategy and can carry a team through a Tour.”
O’Grady recognised the leadership role he could play, saying, “experience is something you cannot buy and it is a nice value to pass on.” The Australian will also continue to chase some of his own objectives at his new team. “Personally I want to have another big classics season,” he said.
“I have been a bit unlucky with injuries and broken bones since winning Roubaix in 2007. So it would be nice to win some big races with the team and of course help the Schlecks win the Tour de France! Most importantly of all, enjoy cycling, racing and giving it 100% every time.”
O'Grady turned pro in 1995 with GAN, moving to Cofidis in 2004 and 2005, and then joining CSC (now Saxo Bank) in 2006. He has won three Tour de France stages, wearing the leader's yellow jersey in both 1998 and 2001.
He was Australian national road champion in 2003, and has won the Herald Sun Tour (2008), the Tour Down Under (1999, 2001), and the Tour of Britain (1998).
O'Grady also has a fine pedrigree as a track rider, and took the world team pursuit title in 1993 and 1995, and won the Olympic gold medal in the Madison in 2004.
This year O'Grady made his biggest headlines when he was expelled from the Vuelta a Espana along with teammate Andy Schleck. The two were sent home after the first rest day after team owner Bjarne Riis claimed that the two had been out drinking until 5am. O'Grady disputed the allegations.
The Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project is a team built around Andy and Fränk Schleck. The most recent new signings include Linus Gerdemann, Fabian Wegmann, and Jakob Fuglsang. World time trial champion Fabian Cancellara is also speculated to be joining the team.