German veteran Jens Voigt will be riding for the yet-unnamed Luxembourg-backed team next season.
Team officials confirmed Friday what was already widely believed that the popular Voigt would be following the Schleck brothers to new squad next season.
“What can you say about Jens? He is a rider that any team would love to have on its roster,” team manager Kim Andersen said in a press release Friday. “He has such depth and a love for the sport, which he proved by coming back after his terrible crash in the 2009 Tour.”
Voigt has earned the reputation as one of the most combative and popular riders in the peloton. At 39, he shows no signs of slowing down and promises to ride at the top level for at least one more season.
“I wanted to come to this team because I am very excited about this project,” Voigt explained. “I love the idea of continuing to work with the Schlecks; we work well together and know what we can expect from each other.”
Voigt joins Frank and Andy Schleck in a major exodus from Bjarne Riis’s Saxo Bank team. Andersen, sport directors Lars Michaelsen and Torsten Schmidt along with several riders are leaving Riis to create the new Luxembourg-backed team.
Voigt, who joined Riis in 2004 under the CSC banner, said it was time for a change.
“I had a great time at my former team and found a lot of personal and common success, but after seven years, I felt it was time to make a change,” Voigt explained. “Change often sharpens you again, and I am looking forward to doing some things in new ways: new training methods, new materials, new teammates.”
Voigt will be entering his 15th season as a professional, but promises to continue to attack and deliver the kind of racing that’s made him one of the popular figures in the pro peloton.
Voigt will retain his role as road captain and he expressed his desire to return to the Tour in 2011 to help one of the Schleck brothers win the overall.
“I have won at least one race in every year I have been a professional, so I would definitely like to keep that streak going,” Voigt continued. “I’m never going to win the Tour de France myself, but I am still happy to have chances to race for myself in events like Paris-Nice and the Tour of California. Yes, my ambitions are still strong.”
The official arrival of Voigt and Thursday’s announcement that Daniele Bennati and three others confirms that the Luxembourg project has a solid base. General manager Brian Nygaard told VeloNews that financial guarantees are in place for the next four years, despite the continued silence on who is sponsoring the squad.
Nygaard said more team news will be unfolding in the coming days.