By Shane Stokes
The 1998 world junior champion Mark Scanlon has been confirmed amongst the lineup for the 2007 Toyota-United Pro team, completing his move to the US racing scene.
Scanlon had spent four seasons with the AG2R Prévoyance team, winning the opening stage of the Tour of Denmark in 2003 and then the following season, becoming the first Irish rider in 11 years to take part in the Tour de France. However last September he spoke about his disillusionment with the European peloton, saying that the prospect of a change of scene was what was keeping him in the sport.
"I want a fresh start, and so a move to a totally different scene seems like a good idea," he stated at the time. "Firstly, I have been in Europe since I was 17 or 18 and it has come to the point now where I am not getting motivated for the big races the way I should be. At the same time too, you wonder if you should be making big sacrifices to finish 16th or 17th in a race, if guys are doping. It is not very motivating."
Although it was known that he was heading to the US, he previously told Cyclingnews he was unable to name the team he would be racing with until they made their own announcement. However in a release issued on Thursday, Toyota-United Pro confirmed his signing, saying that it was looking forward to working with him and three other new acquisitions.
"We've added some serious firepower and Pro Tour level experience with Mark Scanlon, Henk Vogels and climbing specialist Burke Swindlehurst, plus our wild card Caleb Manion," stated team manager Harm Jansen. "I think we'll definitely have an impact on the domestic racing circuit this year."
Although Scanlon will be based mainly in the US, he will line out against European teams in several races there. The Toyota United Pro squad gets things underway in the 2.HC Amgen Tour of California, which runs from February 18 – 25th, and this could mark his debut in their colours. Three other Irish riders will also be riding pro in the US. Ciarán Power and David O'Loughlin remain with the Navigators Insurance pro team, while national road race champion David McCann has signed a deal to compete with Colavita/Sutter Home.
See the full roster in the Cyclingnews teams database