Serge Pauwels (Team Sky) is hoping to put two difficult years behind him as he moves from Sky to Omega Pharma-Quick Step for 2012. The Belgian signed for Sky ahead of their inaugural season and rode the Tour de France in 2010. However this season was disrupted by a number of injuries and when Omega came calling he found the opportunity of returning to Belgium too hard to resist.
“I’m going to Omega for two years and I’m really happy with that. I had a season with a lot of injuries. I broke my elbow and then a month later one of my triceps was torn off,” he told Cyclingnews.
“Omega gives me the chance to open a new chapter in my career and I’m happy to go back to a Belgian team.
“Sky was a great experience. They set the benchmark for modern cycling and took care of so many details. That was really nice to experience and I learnt a lot. But I’ve always said that I wanted to come back to Belgium at some point.”
This year Pauwels broke an elbow in a crash. After his comeback he suffered another setback when one of his bicep muscles became detached from it’s arm.
“The injuries meant my last year was spoilt but the year before I did the Tour de France and that was always a dream for me. Okay, results-wise I was looking for a bit more, but due to circumstances I wasn’t able to fulfill those ambitions. Hopefully I’ll get those chances next year.
“My manager spoke to Omega early in the summer and I was pretty convinced that I wanted something new. I gave my word to them fairly soon. I never really got a no or yes from Sky but I don’t think it really matters.”
Pauwels has not finalised his race programme for next season but he is hoping to ride a Grand Tour. Having performed well at the 2009 Giro, when with Cervelo, he believes that his future could be in long stage races.
“We’ll discuss the race programme later but I really want to be competitive again and show what I can do in the biggest races, even the Grand Tours. It’s no secret that I like them and we’ll see if I can do one of them.”