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André Greipel’s new Omega-Pharma squad has managed to sign the German sprinter’s favorite lead-out man and the yet-unnamed Luxembourg team has inked deals with three more in another busy day in the rider market.
Greipel wanted compatriot Marcel Sieberg to join him in his move from HTC-Columbia to Omega Pharma-Lotto for next season, and even though it took some time, “the Gorilla” got his man. Sieberg is Greipel’s trusted companion and top lead-out man, and will provide a big boost for Greipel’s fast-growing train at the Belgian team.
Sieberg becomes the 14th and final rider to move to Omega Pharma for 2011, making it one of the most active teams in the rider market. Joining Sieberg and Greipel are Belgians Jurgen Van De Walle, Frederik Willems, Klaas Lodewijck, Gert Dockx, Sven Vandousselaere, Bart De Clercq and Jens Debusschere along with Adam Hansen, David Boucher, Jussi Veikkanen, Oscar Puyol and Vicente Reynes.
The new riders met with existing team staff this week at Deinze, Belgium, for its first get-together looking ahead to next season.
Team captains Philippe Gilbert and Jurgen van den Broeck will continue to anchor the team’s classics and GC programs, respectively, will Greipel is expected to add some “W’s” to the team’s palmares.
The team only won 11 races in 2010, with six quality wins coming from Gilbert, one from Mathew Lloyd with his stage at the Giro d’Italia while Adam Blythe added four wins in a two-week period in late September into early October.
In search of a name, but plenty of talent
The Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project announced three new names to its growing list of confirmed riders joining the team, with Belgians Wouter Weylandt and Maxime Monfort and German rider Dominic Klemme.
Others include the Schleck brothers, Daniele Bennati, Davide Vigano, Jens Voigt, Bruno Pires and Giacomo Nizzolo.
“When I heard about the possibility of this team being created, I became very interested very quickly,” Monfort said in a team release. “Now I am extremely motivated by the idea of riding alongside such fantastic athletes in our attempt to win some of the Northern Classics and indeed carry the yellow jersey to the Champs Elysées.”
Wouter, meanwhile, will provide more depth to the team’s classics and sprint programs.
“By signing Wouter, I think we have pulled off a real coup,” team manager Brian Nygaard said. “He is young but won a stage each in the Giro and Vuelta this year, and both stages were brutal days, not at all tailor-made for a sprinter. He has astounding natural ability and a great attitude. He can definitely grow into an even better rider for the spring classics.”
Klemme will continue to develop his skills, hoping to improve on 14th in this year’s Paris-Roubaix will riding in support of teammate and winner Fabian Cancellara at Saxo Bank.