Swiss WorldTour team IAM Cycling have announced the signings of Leigh Howard, Vegard Stake Laengen and Oliver Naesen for the 2016 season. IAM Cycling are focusing on sprint success next season and believe he trio can help them achieve that goal.
"For next year, we want to have our pack of wolves a bit more compact and prominent at the front of the peloton in order to usher our sprinters to the finish line more effectively," said the team's founder Michel Thétaz.
Howard joins the team with extensive WorldTour experience having ridden with Orica-GreenEdge over the last four seasons and two seasons with HTC-Highroad before that. The 25-year-old was linked the team earlier in the month as director sportif, Rik Verbrugge told Cyclingnews "We're in a transition year so we're focusing on young riders, so ones that can perhaps help Matteo Pelucchi, like Leigh Howard, with the leadout and then some young riders."
The Australian was part of the successful lead out train for Caleb Ewan this season with little opportunity to pursue person success with his best result sixth place at the Prudential RideLondon. Howard will join compatriots Heinrich Haussler and David Tanner on the IAM Cycling roster.
Vegard Stake Laengen's move to the team was first confirmed by his current team, Team Joker, last month but the 26-year-old move has now been made official. Laengen spent two seasons with the Pro-Continental Bretagne-Séché Environnement team before stepping down to the Continental ranks with Joker in 2015 where he has enjoyed a successful season. Laengen won the 2.2 Tour Alsace and placed 11th overall at the 2.HCTour of Norway and Arctic Race of Norway.
Laengen is the second Norwegian on the books for IAM Cycling along with Sondre Holst Enger.
25-year-old Oliver Naesen will also join the squad for next season as he moves across from the Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise Pro-Continental team. Naesen offers the team another option in the Classics as well as playing a role in the leadout train. The Belgian won the best young rider classification at the Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg in June, holding his form as he claimed a a debut professional win at La Poly Normande, most recently impressing in a trio of Belgian races with top-five finishes at GP Stad Zottegem, Druivenkoers - Overijse and Schaal Sels.
Sylvain Chavanel, Thomas Degand, Jérôme Pineau, Sébastien Reichenbach, and Patrick Schelling are all departing the team at the end of the season with IAM Cycling expected to make further announcements regarding its 2016 roster in coming weeks.