By Shane Stokes
Paul Griffin reaped the benefits of a strong 2005 season when he signed a new and improved two year deal with the Giant Asia squad this week. The Irish rider has confirmed that he has inked a contract for 2006 and 2007, being rewarded for stage victories and high overall placings in races such as the Azerbaïjan Tour, the Tour of East Java and the Tour of Indonesia in 2005.
"I am delighted to get the contract sorted out and put my mind to rest, knowing what I will be doing for the next couple of years," said Griffin.
"The team were very happy with how I went in my first year. As a result, I have ended up with a deal which is a good bit better than last year's arrangement. Apart from taking some wins myself, I did some good riding for the team. I had the chance to do better in some of the 2.2 races I did - I could have got top five places in more of then, but instead sacrificed my chances to ride for the team and help the designated leader."
Griffin says that he is looking forward to getting back to training. "I start this week," he said. "I feel like I am ready to go…the season didn't end too long ago but I am feeling fresh now after my break. When I away on holidays I found myself planning out what I was going to do in training, so I think that's a good sign."
Griffin is planning a strong start to the 2006 season, and says that the team has a busy programme. Early on, Giant Asia will take part in the Tour of Siam, the Tour of Thailand and then either the Tour de Langkawi or the Tour of Okinawa, before returning to tackle the Tour of Taiwan.
Fellow Irishman David McCann has also been offered an extension of his contract with the team, but he hasn't yet indicated his decision.