With time ticking out on the Geox-TMC squad's existence, Austrian Matthias Brändle has become the latest of the team's riders to secure another contract. The 21-year-old will join the German Professional Continental Team NetApp for 2012.
Geox suddenly pulled its support of the team last month and team manager Mauro Gianetti has been scrambling to find a replacement sponsor. He said last week he was in close negotiations with two organisations, but no further news has emerged about the team's future.
A former time trial and road race champion of Austria, Brändle has also taken high finishes in bunch sprints, as demonstrated by his winning the sprinter's jersey at this season's Tour de Romandie. He brings Grand Tour experience to the NetApp team, having been part of the winning squad at this year's Vuelta a España and taken part in the 2010 Giro d'Italia.
"Matthias is a perfect fit in terms of our concept. He's young but already brings with him skills that we will be able to make good use of in our tour team. He's a fast sprinter, a good time-trial rider, an active rider. He can both support the team and take advantage of his own opportunities at smaller tours," said Ralph Denk, Team NetApp's team manager.