Luxembourg cycling project feeling the pressure after landing top spot in UCI hierarchy
Kim Andersen, director of sports of the Luxembourg professional cycling project, has said topping the International Cyclist Union's [UCI] sporting hierarchy of teams ahead of the 2011 season puts added
pressure on the newly formed outfit.
The team, which has yet to announce its main sponsor and is awaiting the UCI's decision on whether it will be granted a ProTour licence for next season, is ranked number one on the UCI's sporting hierarchy
The addition of former Saxo Bank rider Fabian Cancellara to the Luxembourgian team, a deal that was sealed on Tuesday, 2 November, is thought to have taken the team from third to first place in the rankings.
Andersen told Dutch website Telesport that the team's position in the ranking adds pressure on his riders to perform early on in their first season riding together.
"It is therefore important to perform well at the Tour Down Under and make an immediate impression on the races," the Dane said. "But the focus shouldn't be entirely on the first races. You must never
lose sight of the fact that the Classics are much more important, while the Tour de France is the absolute objective."
25-man roster dominated by Saxo Bank names
Despite the absence of a main sponsor, Andersen disclosed that the next four seasons have been covered financially for his team, which aims to start the season with a roster of 25 riders.
"We have attracted good riders, so expectations are high. Nevertheless, I remain humble. We have yet to prove anything,” Andersen, whose squad is not yet complete, said.
Several of the team's riders, including Frank and Andy Schleck, Cancellara, Stuart O'Grady, Jakob Fuglsang and Jens Voigt, left Bjarne Riis' Saxo Bank outfit to join the new team, but Andersen denied intentionally
robbing compatriot Riis of his best riders.
"In mid-June it was not clear whether Riis' team would be in the peloton in 2011. I've always looked for the best riders. They themselves decide ultimately which team they choose."