By Susan Westemeyer
Yesterday, Team Volksbank announced it has signed two Swiss riders. Florian Stalder (24), from Team Phonak, is a strong climber and all-rounder, who has signed for a year. He won the sprinter's jersey at the Tour of Austria and the young rider's jersey at the Tour of Georgia, both this year. Stalder had 92 racing days this year, more than any other Phonak rider.
"Next year I want to claim my first pro win with Volksbank," said the Swiss.
"Stalder will assume a leadership position at Volksbank," added Team Manager Thomas Kofler. "He rode super well at Phonak, although he was only a helper. With the freedom we will give him, he will bring in better results. Stalder was one of my absolute 'must-haves' for the coming season."
The professional continental team also signed 24 year-old Simon Schaerer, who is considered one of the most promising up-and-coming young Swiss riders. Schaerer, who rode in 2006 as a stagiaire for Barloworld, is an all-rounder who time trials well, the team notes. His TT abilities helped him finish second in this year's national time trial championship behind Fabian Cancellara.