BEIJING (VN) — Caleb Fairly was the last man standing among HTC-Highroad riders but the 24-year-old Texan has finally secured a ride for the 2012 season.
Fairly’s deal for next season means that the entire elite men’s squad will remain active in professional racing in the wake of the collapse of the U.S.-registered squad at the end of the 2011 campaign.
“I have a contract next year that will bring me back to Europe,” Fairly told VeloNews on Saturday at the Tour of Beijing. “It took me a little longer, but I have a good contract for next year.”
Fairly said at his new team’s request he could not yet disclose his destination, but expressed his satisfaction that he will be able to remain active in Europe.
Going into September, Fairly and Craig Lewis were the last two riders among the 24-man roster who had not secured their futures. Lewis told Cyclingnews.com last week he signed a contract while Fairly confirmed he has a deal for next year.
Fairly, who was racing his first full pro season after riding as a stagiaire with Garmin in 2010, said it wasn’t easy to find a ride after a rookie season that was focused on learning the ropes and gaining experience.
“It was hard for a guy like me, a neo-pro, it’s my first year in Europe. No one knows who I am,” Fairly continued. “The team really helped us a lot to find a team. I am just glad that I can race in Europe next year.”
Fairly got a good taste of European racing this season, with starts in the Ardennes classics and completing both the Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta al País Vasco. Later in the season, he raced in Europe in Poland and Holland before racing in Utah and Canada.
After wrapping up Beijing on Sunday, he flies back to Europe for the season closer at the Giro di Lombardia.
Like most riders on HTC-Highroad, Fairly said he’s disappointed to see the team shut down.
“It’s sad to see the team close,” he said. “It’s a great team and everyone is kind of sad to see it end. At least now everyone has a ride for next year.”