Juan Antonio Flecha, Christian Knees and Michael Barry have signed new contracts with Team Sky ahead of the 2012 season. Flecha and Knees have both penned two-year deals while Barry has extended his current agreement by a further 12 months.
Flecha is one of the world's most experienced riders and has racked up no less than 14 Grand Tour appearances during his distinguished career. The Spaniard is also a Classics specialist and followed up his victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last season with a runners-up spot in 2011.
"I am really happy to be riding for the team again next season," said Flecha. "The improvements we have made over the last year have been testament to the amount of work we have put in, and I am excited about what 2012 will bring. The cobbled Classics will be my main focus, as always, but I am also looking forward to helping the team throughout the rest of the season."
Barry and Knees are both regarded as key domestiques and have contributed massively to the continued success of the team in 2011. Barry's form last season earned him his first-ever ride at the Tour de France while Knees was a member of the 2011 team after settling in quickly following his winter arrival from Milram.
"I've enjoyed being a part of the development and growth of the team in the last two years and am looking forward to another season with Team Sky," said Barry. "To me, the environment is ideal: the team is well organised, the management is solid, the staff is committed and we have a great ambiance amongst the riders. All of the guys enjoy racing and being together which, in the end, produces results. I'm happy and proud to be a member of the team."
Knees said, "I've had a great first season with Team Sky, and a lot of happy memories, so when the offer of a new deal arose I signed straight away. To make the Tour de France team was amazing, especially after joining the squad so late, and I've been happy with the role I've had to play in the team. I hope I can show my best over the next two years now, and when I'm not working for the other riders it would be nice to try and get a win for myself to repay the faith they have shown in me."
Team Sky Principal Dave Brailsford was pleased with the renewals, which come days after the team signed Mark Cavendish and Bernard Eisel.
"At Team Sky, we are always striving to improve as a team and retaining our key riders is a vital component of that strategy. We are delighted that three world-class talents in Michael, Christian and Juan Antonio have seen Team Sky as the best place to continue their careers.
"As athletes, their records at the very highest level of our sport speak for themselves. As senior professionals they have set a standard of behaviour that is an inspiration to our younger riders. All three have contributed hugely to our success as a professional team and we all look forward to continuing that momentum into 2012 and beyond."
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