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JJ Haedo heads back to USA with Jamis-Hagens Berman

After six years of racing at the WorldTour level with Bjarne Riis' Saxo Bank team, sprinter Juan José Haedo will step back to the Continental level in 2013 with Team Jamis-Hagens Berman.

The Argentinean made his professional debut in 2003 with a previous incarnation of the team, Colavita, and stayed with the squad for three seasons. Jamis director Sebastian Alexandré is pleased to have his compatriot back in the fold of the growing team.

"I know J.J. very well and have kept in touch frequently since he moved to Europe," Alexandre said. "After we finalized our sponsors for 2013, I spoke with him about this new project and the plans to grow the team and he liked the idea. With J.J. on board, this is undoubtedly the strongest team that we have ever fielded. The team will be competitive in every race we enter and I hope to show it during all of the major UCI races in the U.S. next year."

Haedo's WorldTour campaign had mixed results: he won the Rund um Köln and a stage of the Deutschland Tour in his first year with CSC, took wins in the Clásica de Almería and Vuelta a Murcia his second season. Wins in the Circuit Franco-Belge and Tour de Wallonie came in 2009, but it was 2010 which was his next step up sprinting's rung. Haedo won sprints in the Critérium du Dauphiné and Volta a Catalunya that year in addition to his second Rund um Köln and the Mumbai Cyclothon.

In 2011, he garnered another WorldTour win in Tirreno-Adriatico before bagging his first Grand Tour stage in the Vuelta a España by beating Alessandro Petacchi and Daniele Bennati to the line in Haro on stage 16.

However, his luck in 2012 was not as good. He was winless until the GP de Denain Porte du Hainaut, and his main focus of the first half of the season, the Critérium du Dauphiné, soured when he was dropped on the climbs and abandoned after stage 2.

The Saxo Bank team struggled to gain points toward inclusion in the WorldTour since those gained by Vuelta winner Alberto Contador weren't counted following his doping ban. Haedo was the fourth best point-earner on the team, but with just 21 points, it was not enough to ensure the team's selection in the top tier. Saxo-Tinkoff was added only through the exclusion of Katusha from the WorldTour, a decision which the Russian team is currently fighting against.

The signing of Haedo is an important step towards earning invitations to the top American races for Jamis-Hagens Berman. In 2012, the team was denied entry to all three of the major races - Tour of California, Tour of Utah and Colorado's USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The recent signing of Ben Jacques-Maynes together with Haedo, who has five Tour of California stages to his name, will be hard for the race organizers to ignore.

"I'm really looking forward to the major UCI events in the USA," Haedo said. "I would like to add to my tally of stage wins at the Tour of California. I've also heard great things about the Tour of Utah and the US Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado and hope that the team can earn invitations to these events. I'm motivated and confident that I can deliver wins for my new team."

Haedo also has three stage victories in the Tour de San Luis in his home country, and will lead Team Jamis - Hagens Berman in the UCI 2.1 stage race in January in pursuit of a few more.

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