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Team Sky working to strengthen squad for 2011

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Team Sky could only manage fifth.

Team Sky could only manage fifth. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Shane Sutton and David Brailsford consider the proceedings carefully.

Shane Sutton and David Brailsford consider the proceedings carefully. (Image credit: Gerry McManus/
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Sky's Dave Brailsford and Juan Antonio Flecha

Sky's Dave Brailsford and Juan Antonio Flecha (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Team Sky was off the pace a little, finishing 14th

Team Sky was off the pace a little, finishing 14th (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford has admitted that the British team is looking to strengthen its line-up for 2011 but has refused to reveal the names any of the riders he is currently negotiating with.

"We're doing our business behind closed doors this year. Last year there was a lot of speculation about which riders we were going to sign and it became counter-productive," Brailsford told Cyclingnews.

"People shouldn't think we're not in the market for good riders. We are. But we're not going to announce things until we're ready to do it."

Talented British time trialist Alex Dowsett, who rode with the Trek-Livestrong Under 23 team this year, has been named a possible neo-pro signing for Team Sky while Caisse d'Epargne's Rigoberto Uran and Vasili Kiryienka have also been linked to the team.

Cancellara and Downing

Brailsford refused to confirm if they will join Team Sky for 2011 but admitted he would be interested in signing Fabian Cancellara if the time trial world champion were to become available. He also confirmed that Russell Downing will be offered a new contract with the team after a successful 2010 season.

Team Sky has 26 riders on its roster this year, five of which have one-year contracts.

"Nobody can say that Russell Downing doesn't deserve another year with Team Sky. He's had a great season, won four races and has done everything we've asked of him," Brailsford said.

"Cancellara is under contract for another season with Bjarne Riis but if he became available for some reason, of course we'd be interested. But so would most other teams, because he's such a great rider.

"All you'll get me to say is that things are progressing well for us. We've identified the riders who we think will strengthen the team for 2011. We're working on signing riders that will immediately be competitive at a ProTour level in 2011 and we're also working on riders for the future."

Satisfied with 2010 season

Despite a lack of major results, Brailsford is upbeat about Team Sky's first season.

"I'm satisfied with how things have gone and the season isn’t over yet. We built the team from scratch and I think we're doing very well considering that. We had a good spring and it could have been even better if Edvald Boasson Hagen hadn’t been injured. We hoped Bradley Wiggins would have done better in the Tour de France but we've learnt a lot from what happened this year and are already working for 2011.

"We're looking to do well in the forthcoming Tour of Britain and in the final races of the season. The Vuelta has been hard for us with the riders and staff being ill but they're all hanging in there and fighting on."