Robert Hunter signs for Garmin-Slipstream

Vansummeren, Kessiakoff, Kreder, Stetina, Zirbel also added

American cycling team Garmin-Slipstream have signed former Tour de France stage winner Robbie Hunter of South Africa among five other new recruits for the 2010 season, the team announced Tuesday.

Barloworld sprint specialist Hunter has been brought on board to help Garmin's up and coming American sprinter Tyler Farrar to dominate the bunch sprints, and to aim for "various stage wins throughout the year".

Garmin have also notably signed Johan Vansummeren from Silence-Lotto, where he supported Australian Cadel Evans in his Tour de France campaigns. The Belgian is also handy in the one-day classics and will be expected to become part of Garmin's 'Cobbled Classics' crew, including Martijin Maaskant and Farrar.

Swedish mountain biking champion Fredrik Kessiakoff, a specialist climber, joins the team from Fuji-Servetto while a climber who can also sprint, Michel Kreder, has been signed in the hope he can excel in one-day races and stage races.

American Peter Stetina has been called up from the team's U-23 outfit while Tom Zirbel, an accomplished time triallist, also signs up.

Britain's Bradley Wiggins finished an astonishing fourth overall for Garmin in this year's Tour de France and the CEO of Slipstream Sports, former professional Jonathan Vaughters, said: "We're poised for another exciting year with these riders rounding out an already strong roster.

"We started the team with the goal of developing young talent, so riders (like) Peter Stetina and Michel Kreder were natural fits for us. "And this year we'll continue to build on the success Tyler has had by giving him more lead-out guys, and the success that Christian (Vande Velde) and Wiggins have had in the mountains by adding talented climbers.

"But make no mistake, the riders on this list are all capable of stage wins and one-day race victories. 2010 is shaping up to be a big year for us."

© AFP 2009

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