By Susan Westemeyer
Swiss riders Florian Stalder and Pascal Hungerbühler have extended their contracts with Team Volksbank, the Austrian Professional Continental team announced this morning. It also announced that the team will meet on November 29 in Götzis, Austria, for team-building activities.
Stalder, 25, extended through 2009. He won the points jersey at this year's Tour de Suisse. "Florian has a great future in front of him," said Team Manager Thomas Kofler, calling him a "sympathetic and aggressive rider and pro with an ideal attitude."
Stalder turned pro in 2005 with Ed' System ZVVZ, and rode for Phonak in 2006 before joining Volksbank this season. "The environment and the race programme are optimal. I feel good here. What really makes me happy is that they are showing me trust for the next two years. That doesn't always happen in times like this."
He hopes to get his first pro win in the coming season. "I nearly won a couple of times this year. The time is ripe to make a big step forward." One of those near misses this year was the Giro del Veneto, where he finished a close second behind Alessandro Bertolini.
Hungerbühler, 30, signed for one more year. "He will prove once again to be an untiring attacker," Kofler said. He has been with Volksbank since 2003.