News: GreenEDGE Sign Michael Albasini

GreenEDGE Cycling, which will make its racing debut in 2012, has added more experience to the team with the signing of Switzerland’s Michael Albasini, the recent winner of stage 13 of the Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain). Albasini, who is currently riding for the HTC-Highroad team which is folding at the end of the season, says he’s looking forward to being part of what he called “a big project.”

“When you’re in the peloton you always hear rumours and I heard so many good things about GreenEDGE, which got me interested. But they called me. This was the first time a team has called me,” the 30-year-old said. “This means GreenEDGE values me as a rider and has confidence in me. This is important because I am a rider who needs the confidence of the team. “But that’s not the only reason I’m joining the team. Once I looked at the people involved and the infrastructure already in place it was an easy decision.”

Shayne Bannan, GreenEDGE Cycling General Manager, said Albasini’s win in Spain only proves what the team already knew about a rider whose strengths he classified as pretty hard to pigeonhole. “Michael is good at just about everything,” Bannan said. “As he has just shown at the Tour of Spain he’s pretty hard to beat in a sprint from a breakaway group.

“He won the mountainous Tour of Austria in 2009 and has two stage victories at the Tour de Suisse to his name, so there’s plenty of evidence that he’s a solid climber. And he’s always near the top half of the results sheet in a time trial. Plus he’s always been one of the key workers for his previous teams.”

In addition to having the backing of the team, the win at the Vuelta a Espana has boosted Albasini’s confidence for the season ahead with GreenEDGE. “It was near the end of the second week of a big tour and that was my third day in a row of trying to get in a breakaway and going full gas so it gives me the confidence that I can do it again,” he said. “Before the stage we were talking about just surviving the stage so to win such a difficult day like that it’s even more significant. It was no gift; I had to work very hard for it.”

As for his future ambitions he says he will continue to target the sort of races he always has. “For every rider winning a grand tour stage is a dream come true. Now that I have proven I can I dream of doing it again,” said Albasini, who won the 2010 Tour of Britain. “I’ll also target the shorter stage races and the Ardennes classics. They’re the races I think I can get some good results in for the team.”