Multi-stage winning sprinter Robbie McEwen will spearhead the Katusha team in Australia’s Tour Down Under in January, organizers said on Thursday.
McEwen is a triple winner of the Tour de France’s green jersey sprinters classification and has won 12 stages at both the Tour de France and the Tour Down Under. He spent a frustrating 2009 season largely recovering from injuries.
Despite his time on the injured reserve in ’09, Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur said McEwen would be favored to win stages in the 2010 event and could be a contender for the overall leader’s jersey in the sprint-heavy stage race.
“McEwen has won more stages than anyone else in the race’s history,” Turtur said in a statement. “He is fast, competitive and always ready to put on a show in front of a home crowd.
“Robbie is one of the fastest sprinters in the world and he’ll be a contender for the sprint jersey as well as overall honors in January.”
Alexander Pliuschin, the 2008 National Road Champion for Moldova, will make his riding debut with Katusha after transferring to the Russian team from Ag2r La Mondiale.
Russian Pavel Brutt will join Pliuschin after a strong 2009 season, winning the 2009 Tour de Vendee.
The Tour Down Under will be staged around Adelaide from January 17-24 and is headlined by seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and Australia’s world road cycling champion Cadel Evans.
Katusha for the 2010 Tour Down Under:
Alexander Pliuschin (MDA)
Pavel Brutt (RUS)
Denis Galimzyanov (RUS)
Joan Horrach (ESP)
Sergey Klimov (RUS)
Robbie McEwen (AUS)
Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL)