Versatile Vaitkus leaves Astana for GreenEdge
Lithuanian looking for more individual opportunities in 2012
Lithuanian Tomas Vaitkus is the latest signing for GreenEdge, with Shayne Bannan explaining that the 29-year-old will be more than just one of the team's key domestiques.
Vaitkus joins GreenEdge from his second stint at Astana, having previously ridden for the Kazakh outfit 2008 and 2009. He turned professional with Landbouwkrediet in 2003, and rode for Ag2r in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 Vaitkus rode for Discovery Channel before joining Astana before one season with Team RadioShack.
While he hasn't tasted individual success since 2008, Vaitkus says he's looking forward to more opportunities in 2012 despite the satisfaction he gets out of being a team player.
"People normally just look at me as one of the workers on a team, which is a role I really enjoy and will be a big part of what I do at GreenEdge," he explained in a statement released by the team. "But I also look forward to the prospect of getting a few opportunities to look for my own win even though I get as much satisfaction out of helping a teammate cross the line in first place."
Vaitkus, 2002 Under 23 world time trial champion, brings just two UCI individual ranking points to the table for GreenEdge, which has been vocal in its goal of recruiting well enough to be placed in the top 15 ProTour teams.
"Without knowing exactly 100 per cent what other teams are doing I believe that we're tracking to be in the top 15," team general manager Bannan told Cyclingnews last week, while confirming that 90 per cent of the 28-rider roster has been secured.
Meantime, Bannan believes the triple Lithuanian time trial champion is "more than capable of winning in his own right."
"Look at the races he's won when given the chance," he explained. "He's won a stage at the Giro d'Italia and the Tour of Denmark plus multiple national titles in the time trial and on the road.
"And his versatility gives us so many options. He was in the thick of the action right to the end at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix this year, he's a solid sprinter, can play the role of a lead-out man for our fastest finishers and we all know how strong he is in a time trial."
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As a sports journalist and producer since 1997, Jane has covered Olympic and Commonwealth Games, rugby league, motorsport, cricket, surfing, triathlon, rugby union, and golf for print, radio, television and online. However her enduring passion has been cycling.
Jane is a former Australian Editor of Cyclingnews from 2011 to 2013 and continues to freelance within the cycling industry.
By Jackie Tyson