Team CSC has announced the signing of Discovery Channel orphan Jurgen Van Goolen. The 26 year-old is expected to produce some big results in 2008, having been a promising rider during his junior career but being hampered by injuries throughout his elite career.
"To join a team like Team CSC is a great opportunity for me," Van Goolen told team-csc.com. "I believe I can do better here than I have so far due to my problems with injuries. My winter preparations have been wrecked because of the injuries for the last two years,"
Van Goolen, who turns 27 next week, had a disappointing 2007 season due to the injury, but still managed to finish runner up in the Vuelta a España's King of the Mountains classification. The riders only other result of 2007 was his ninth place in July's Österreich Rundfahrt.
"In October I had knee surgery and I should be one hundred percent ready for next season," explained Van Goolen. "Right now my right leg is a tiny bit weaker than my left, but that's because I need to train and build up my form again, so it'll be ok in a week or two."
The Belgian says he's keen to learn what he's capable of achieving on a bike in 2008, after being held back from the ongoing injuries in recent years. "For example I don't know if I'd be able to make it among the top-10 in the Tour," he said. "A couple of weeks into the Vuelta I was 13th or 14th, but I had to work really hard to defend the mountain jersey – although I did manage to hang on to it until the last or second last mountain stage, so I lost a bit of time towards the end.
"During this year's Vuelta I wasn't really going for a result in the overall standings," he continued. "The mountain jersey meant a lot to me so I was going for that. I was also trying hard to land a contract for next season so I tried to be as aggressive as I possibly could. But I'm excited to see how far I'll be able to go, because I think that a team like Team CSC will definitely take me there."
The former Discovery Channel rider was forced to prove his worth at the Vuelta, with few runs on the board and the announcement his American outfit would close its doors at season's end. With the new deal done and dusted, Van Goolen's attention has turned to the 2008 Tour de France and selections for his national squad for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in China. "I'm hoping to get to do the Tour next year and my goal is also to be selected for the Belgian national team for the Olympics," he concluded.