The Luxembourg Cycling Project team is set to announce the names of more newly-signed riders this afternoon, according to team general manager Brian Nygaard.
“Announcing more riders this afternoon, wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!” Nygaard cheerfully said via his Twitter account on Friday morning.
On Wednesday, the squad announced the signing of Frenchman Brice Feillu, Australian Will Clarke and Austrian Stefan Denifl.
Then on Thursday, Nygaard confirmed – again via Twitter – that the team had finished signing riders, but that there were several names still to be released.
The big question is whether one of those names is Fabian Cancellara. The Swiss time trial world champion has been strongly linked with the team since announcing his departure from Bjarne Riis’s Saxo Bank.
Certainly, there are several factors that point to Cancellara joining the team, aside from re-joining former Saxo Bank team-mates Frank and Andy Schleck, Stuart O’Grady, Jakob Fuglsang and Jens Voigt.
The Luxembourg team took top spot in the UCI’s provisional list of ProTeams, ranked in order of ‘sporting heirarchy’. This ranking is heavily influenced by the sporting achievements of the riders in each team, and it would take a rider of the calibre of Fabian Cancellara with his 2010 wins at the worlds, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders and Tour de France to lift the team into pole position in the list.
Cancellara’s results coupled with those of the Schleck brothers would have given the squad its top placing, but the results of the brothers alone plus those already named in the team would probably not have beeen enough to give them the top spot. Two plus two equals five? Maybe.
With his consistent ability to pull in big results, Cancellara’s contract is solid gold. There are few teams that would be able to afford him, with perhaps only Sky, BMC and the Luxembourg team having the potential financial firepower.
Cancellara himself has declined to comment on his home for next season.
Speculation is also growing as to the identity of the squad’s as-yet-unnamed title sponsor. Given the current affiliation of title ProTeam sponsors with the country of origin of their teams, one could fairly speculate that a company with worldwide business interests that is headquartered in Luxembourg would fit the bill…
Confirmed riders on team Luxembourg (17)
Frank Schleck (from Saxo Bank)
Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank)
Davide Viganò (Sky)
Daniele Bennati (Liquigas-Doimo)
Giacomo Nizzolo (amateur)
Bruno Pi res (Barbot)
Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank)
Maxime Monfort (HTC-Columbia)
Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step)
Dominic Klemme (Saxo Bank)
Fabian Wegmann (Milram)
Linus Gerdemann (Milram)
Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank)
Stuart O’Grady (Saxo Bank)
Brice Feillu (Vacansoleil)
Stefan Denifl (Cervelo)
Will Clarke (Ag2r stagiaire)
Team Luxembourg edges closer to Cancellara announcement