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Team Sky hands Knaven and Portal directeur sportif roles

By:
Cycling News
Published:
October 28, 2010, 17:44 BST,
Updated:
October 28, 2010, 18:45 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Friday, October 29, 2010
Servais Knaven (Milram) contemplates having finished Paris-Roubaix for the 16th time

Servais Knaven (Milram) contemplates having finished Paris-Roubaix for the 16th time

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Yates welcomes help from recent retirees

Team Sky has added Servais Knaven and Nicolas Portal to their directeur sportif ranks for 2011. It marks the end of Portal's career as a professional rider, while Knaven joins after ending his long career early this year. It will be both men's first taste of team management.

"I am really happy to have this opportunity and am really looking forward to it," Knaven said on the team's website.

"I'd been thinking about becoming a DS more and more over the last few seasons and during the final two months of my contract with Milram they were good enough to let me learn the ropes with them."

Knaven rode as a professional for 17 years, winning Paris-Roubaix in 2001 and writing himself into the record books this year when he became only the second rider to complete the race 16 times.

"To join a new team like this one now is just amazing. Not only are Team Sky giving young riders a chance, they are also giving young directors a chance as well, and there is absolutely nowhere else I'd rather be," he said.

Like Knaven, Portal cut his rug as one of the most respected and loyal domestiques in the bunch. He signed a contract with Sky at the start of 2010 but raced just 47 days this year after coming back from serious health problems.

At 31 he will now turn his attention to passing on his experience to Sky's young riders.

"I have really enjoyed my first season at Team Sky and am thrilled to be taking my first step into management with them.

"Cycling has always been my passion and to get this opportunity to stay in the sport is great news for me.

"Having to call time on my racing career was obviously a difficult one, but the birth of my first child last year changed my outlook a lot and taking this decision now means my heart condition is never going to worsen and I'll always be able to lead a normal life."

Sean Yates, Sky's most experienced directeur sportif, welcomed the announcement: "Nicolas and Servais are great additions to the existing DS team and I'm looking forward to working with all of them in the 2011 season."

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