After signing for the Saxo Bank-SunGard team, Tour de France champion Alberto Contador stated that he would like to have some of his loyal Astana teammates join him on his new squad, and today manager Bjarne Riis granted his wish. Contador's Spanish helpers Daniel Navarro, Jesus Hernandez and Benjamin Noval all inked two year contracts with the Danish team.
Riis said in a press release that he is looking forward to working with the trio. "They have shown great stamina and loyalty during this year's Tour de France along with a great will to cooperate and a sense of team spirit,” said Bjarne Riis.
Navarro, winner of a stage in this year's Criterium du Dauphine, was a key rider in Contador's success at this year's Tour de France, and often the last teammate at his side in the high mountains. He also helped Contador to his first Tour win in 2007, and said he is excited about joining the new team. "I'm happy that Bjarne shows great confidence in me. Here, I will be able to help the team and Alberto to another Tour de France victory. I'm looking forward to working with the staff, meeting my new teammates and experiencing Bjarne's way of working. I am convinced that we will have a very strong team,” said Navarro.
Noval, a strong all-rounder, also rode with Contador in the 2007 and 2010 Tours and with Lance Armstrong during his 2004 and 2005 victories.
“I'm very happy to sign with Saxo Bank-SunGard. Working with Riis, makes me calm because their team has always had a reputation for being well-structured with clear ideas. I hope it will be a fruitful experience for all of us and personally, my goal will be to help the team in every race I do and to work with Riis,” said Benjamin Noval.
Hernandez, who rode his first Tour de France this year, said the move is perfect for him. "I get to keep riding with Alberto and I get to start working with a serious team with a lot of discipline. I'm very excited to start working with Bjarne as he has proven to be a great sports director. I'm convinced that we will achieve great victories together,” he said.