Rory Sutherland and Robert Förster are back with UnitedHealthcare in 2012. According to a team representative, the U.S.-based Pro Continental squad will announce the return of their top GC rider and the veteran sprinter Friday.
Sutherland, 29, has been a cornerstone of the team’s stage racing unit since 2007 and in 2011 finished top 10 overall in the Amgen Tour of California and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. In California, Sutherland finished third behind Chris Horner and Andy Schleck in the race’s first-ever mountaintop finish, on Sierra Road above San Jose.
Förster, a former stage winner in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, joined the squad when it made the move up to the second-tier Pro Continental ranks this year. The German was integral in the team’s sprint squad, which dominated the U.S. criterium calendar from June to August and scored two top-five results at the Colorado tour.
“Rory has been a staple on this team since 2007. He is an example of what we are trying to do with the future of Team UnitedHealthcare, and part of my personal vision, to provide our riders with the right tools, management and race program to become better and competitive at a world class level,” said team manager Mike Tamayo. “It has been a great ride so far to watch Rory progress, and the next year is even more promising.”
Sutherland will rejoin 2010 teammate, Dutchman Marc De Maar, at UHC. De Maar, who left for a one-year assignment with Quick Step this year, is the first new rider signing announced by the team. More signings are expected in the next week.
Förster and Sutherland will start the Tour of Britain on Sunday.