Gustav Larsson, the Olympic time trial silver medalist, has penned a deal with Vacansoleil-DCM for the 2012 season while Italian veteran Stefano Garzelli has decided to race one more season.
The 31-year-old Swede will bolster Vacansoleil’s power in the time trial department as well as bring some depth to the roster for one-week stage races and grand tours.
“Riders with a big engine are important for a team which seeks to perform in all types of races. A rider like Larsson is capable of winning a race and he can do the hard work for his teammates,” said sport director Michel Cornelisse. “We missed experience in the 2011 team time trials (and) in such races he will bring a big value.”
Larsson joined CSC/Saxo Bank in 2008 and quickly scored some big results, including silver medals in the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2009 world time trial championships.
In 2010, he won a time trial stage at the Giro d’Italia and claimed the overall at the Tour du Limousin. A consistent performer in the grand tours, Larsson didn’t race any of the big three tours in 2011 as he struggled with form.
Larsson said he’s motivated to get back in top form, especially with the London Summer Games on tap next season.
“The way this team races gives space to all riders and it inspires me to be part of the team for 2012,” Larsson said. “It will be an interesting year with a few (races) on my highlighted on my agenda, with one of those races being a revenge of the 2008 Olympics.”
Garzelli, meanwhile, confirmed he will continue for one more season with Acqua e Sapone.
The 38-year-old won the Giro back in 2000 and remains a consistent performer in the Italian tour, winning a stage in 2010 and the best climber’s jersey in 2011.
Garzelli said next season will likely be his last and he’s aiming for one more shot at Giro glory in 2012.