Ukrainian Volodimir Gustov has returned to Saxo Bank-SunGard after the collapse of his Cervélo team.
Gustov has a one-year contract to ride with Bjarne Riis’s team, which is currently in a state of transition following the departure of several key riders and the uncertainty surrounding new signing Alberto Contador.
The Ukrainian helped Saxo Bank’s predecessor, CSC, secure the 2006 Giro d’Italia title with Ivan Basso, and the 2008 Tour de France crown with Carlos Sastre.
“I’m happy to return to the team where I have memories of great performances with Bjarne Riis in the Giro d’Italia in 2006 and the Tour de France in 2008,” said Gustov. “More importantly, I’m looking forward to returning to the team philosophy
which has helped me ─ not only in cycling but also in my personal life.”
Saxo Bank-SunGard has also signed 22-year-old Italian Manuele Boaro, a former winner of the junior national time trial, to a one-year deal.
Riis’ most successful riders have recently quit the squad.
Brothers Andy and Frank Schleck left to set up a new team, the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project, and many of their teammates at Saxo Bank ─ Jens Voigt, Stuart O’Grady and Jakob Fuglsang, have followed suit.
World and Olympic time trial champion Fabian Cancellara, one of the peloton’s top one-day classics riders, is also being tipped to join the Schlecks.
Andy Schleck is likely to start the 2011 Tour de France as one of the big favorites, having finished runner-up to Contador in 2009 and 2010.
Contador is currently under provisional suspension, awaiting word on a possible sanction after testing positive, during the 2010 race, for trace amounts of the banned weight loss/muscle building drug clenbuterol.