South Africa’s Robbie Hunter and veteran Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen have signed to race for seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong’s RadioShack team in 2011, it was revealed on Thursday.
Both men were part of the Pegasus Sports project which failed to get a ProTour licence for the new season and they opted to change teams.
“The two Robbies fit perfectly in our group, which is a mixture of experienced and young riders,” said RadioShack manager Johan Bruyneel.
McEwen is a triple winner of the Tour de France’s green jersey sprinter’s classification while Hunter was the first South African to win a stage on the Tour.
“I feel sad for the riders and staff of the Pegasus project, but most of the riders deserve to race at the highest level of professional cycling. I am happy to have been able to offer two of the guys that opportunity,” added Bruyneel in a team statement.
“Moreover, we can really use both riders; they are real finishers and winners. They are both very fast and don’t need a real sprinter’s train to bring them to the last kilometre.”
McEwen, 38, said he was delighted with the deal.
“It is a relief that I have secured a contract with Team RadioShack, obviously one of the best teams in the world where I can ride at the ProTour level in what I’m planning to be my last year as a professional,” he said.
“When it became obvious that I had to look for another team, Team RadioShack really was my first choice. That’s why I contacted Lance. I still believe that I am one of the fastest sprinters in the world.”
McEwen has twelve stage wins in the Tour the France, another twelve in the Tour of Italy, plus five wins in the Paris-Brussels.
Hunter, who is 33, said he was looking forward to racing for his new team.
“I am happy to have found a team so soon after the collapse of the Pegasus Sports project,” he said.
“Team RadioShack suits me very well. As the team didn’t have many sprinters I will have my place over there.”