Trek Factory Racing have made their second rider signing in as many days with American Peter Stetina joining on a one-year deal from BMC Racing. The news follows Wednesday's announcement that Ryder Hesjedal will move from Cannondale-Garmin to Trek at the end of this season on a one-year contract.
Stetina, 28, rose through the ranks at Garmin before moving to BMC Racing two years ago. His move to Trek comes after a difficult season in which he crashed out of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and suffered a fractured tibia and patella. The American fought back and recently rode the Tour of Utah and several stages at the USA Pro Challenge.
Trek Factory Racing's Luca Guercilena monitored Stetina's recovery throughout the season and has been keen to bolster the number of climbers on the team for 2016.
"I'm very excited about this," Stetina said. "It's a good move for me, I think. Because of my injury my position on the transfer market has been a different. Teams don't want damaged goods, you know. But Luca (Guercilena) has been in close contact with me all along the recovery. He was very supportive and had full confidence.
"I finished the Tour of Utah on just three weeks of training. A lot of people are asking me if I think I can come back to my old level. When I came back in Utah the suffering on the bike didn't hurt so much. Trek Factor Racing is the right program to make the next step towards a full recovery."
Stetina's two years at BMC Racing were not without success. He finished 6th in the 2014 Tour of California and helped his teammate and friend, Tejay van Garderen, claim fifth at the Tour de France. However, Stetina is now ready for a new challenge and new environment.
"I really enjoyed my time with BMC, where I have spent two great seasons, but Trek Factory was the right move for the next step in my career and comeback. I'm really happy to join the team. It's one of the top set-ups in America and in the world. I think it's going to be a great move for my career. I'm ready for Stetina 2.0, the next logical step post-injury."
There's still some way to go before Stetina is back to his best but he will hope to form a key component in Trek's armoury and support former and soon-to-be future teammate Ryder Hesjedal - Stetina helped the Canadian win the Giro in 2012 – and Bauke Mollema.
"In terms of goals and ambitions, I had a very nice chat with Luca Guercilena. We still need to figure out details of course, but as far as personal and team goals together go, I would support Bauke (Mollema) and Ryder (Hesjedal) in their races and then also target the American races as a personal goal.
"Finally, I'd like to brush up on my time trial skills. I was twice the U23 National Champion and sixth at the World Championships. Since I turned pro I haven't really progressed in that area and it delights me to see someone like Bauke Mollema not only defend his overall position since he joined Trek, but even move up in the GC, instead of losing places. I'm convinced Trek can help me improve my position and become a better time trialist."
Guercilena has slowly but steadily revitalised Trek Factory Racing as a stage racing entity – although they still posses a strong Classics arm. The Italian believes that Stetina will return to his best and with that will have his own opportunities in a number of races.
"We are very excited about Peter coming to our team," Guercilena said.
"He will be a very valuable rider for us. I remember him as a key support rider for Ryder Hesjedal, who's also joining us next season, when he won the Giro in 2012. Besides this, I think he has proven to be strong when given his own chances and we plan to have him at the American and Canadian races to defend the overall.
"Peter has been through a rough time these past months. We want to give him the opportunity to come back to the highest level of racing and show his capacity. We want to support him to reach his best possible level."