Two more names — Joost Posthuma and Oliver Zaugg — give more depth to the Luxembourg cycling team in an announcement just a day after the squad earned a ProTeam license for its debut 2011 season.
Posthuma brings some handy time trialing skills while Zaugg is an improving climber. Both will be bucking to be part of the team’s Tour de France squad, but that’s looking to be a long task for any rider as the depth of the team continues to improve with each new signing announcement.
“Oliver is someone who is always reliable in the mountains. He can definitely be counted on to be there to protect the leaders on the last climbs of the grand tours,” said team manager Brian Nygaard in a team release Tuesday. “Joost is someone who we definitely see as being able to take the next step to winning big time trials and shorter stage races. He’s been knocking on the door for quite a while now … I think he could be one of the big surprises next year.”
Zaugg, 29, turned pro in 2004 with Saunier Duval, then spent two seasons with Gerolsteiner and two more with Liquigas. He’s yet to win a major pro-level race, but his value comes from being a steady workhorse for leaders in the mountains.
“I definitely see this as a prime opportunity to play a larger role in helping my team succeed in races like the Tour de France,” Zaugg said. “To participate in our team’s biggest goals is certainly my top priority for the coming season.”
Posthuma, also 29, turned pro in 2004 as well, and has ridden with Rabobank his entire career. The Dutchman has used his prowess in the time trial to pick up some important, shorter stage races, including the Tour of Luxembourg, Ruta del Sol, the Sachsen Tour and Three Days of De Panne.
“From the first moment I heard about it, I wanted to be part of this project where new riders and new staff are working together toward one big goal, to be the best team in the world,” Posthuma said. “I want to have success in the spring classics and aim for shorter stage races which include time trials.”
With the latest additions, the team roster grows to 23 riders confirmed for the yet-unnamed Luxembourg-backed squad.
There’s still room for a few more names, including the much-anticipated arrival of Fabian Cancellara. The Olympic time trial champion has been linked to the Schleck team since parting ways with Saxo Bank in September.