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"It's a three-year deal with Alex. It just shows that he wanted to stay with the team and I wanted to stay with Alex. He's the only guy we have on a three-year deal: 2015, 2016 and 2017," Jonathan Vaughters said.

Photo: Garmin-Sharp

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25.08.2014 @ 15:23 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Garmin-Sharp manager Jonathan Vaughters expressed his big praise for Alex Howes by offering him a three-year contract extension – longer than any other deal regarding a new incarnation of the American squad to emerge from their expected merger with Cannondale. Or marriage, shall we say.

 

As Colorado native, Howes performed brilliantly in his home race last week to enjoy a short stint in leaders jersey and win the ultimate stage yesterday, but Garmin-Sharp manager claimed that the contract had been signed before the USA Pro Challenge kicked off.

 

"We re-signed him about a week ago," Vaughters told Cyclingnews following Howes' win during the final stage in Colorado.

 

"It's a three-year deal with Alex. It just shows that he wanted to stay with the team and I wanted to stay with Alex. He's the only guy we have on a three-year deal: 2015, 2016 and 2017."

 

Usually extremely professional while speaking on his riders, Vaughters didn’t hide his dedication for 26-year old American, who has been connected with the Slipstream team – a core of today’s Garmin-Sharp, since it was established in 2004.

 

"Alex is one of the original six team 5280 Magazine team members from 2003," Vaughters said, recalling the origins of the current Slipstream program. "He's raced for me since he was 14-years-old. He's an original team member and Colorado native, and I'm sure the amount it means to him to have won today is pretty enormous."

 

"He's slowly but surely developing into one of the world's top riders," Vaughters said. "He's not a guy like a Taylor Phinney, who explodes at 15 years old and everyone talks about the next youth wonder kid. Alex is a guy who every year gets two percent better, and another two percent and another two percent. But you do two percent a year from when you're 16 years old to when you're 26 years old, and it adds up.

 

"I expect him to be another two percent better next year," Vaughters continued. "He can be one of the better riders in sort of middle mountain races like Amstel Gold or Liege-Bastogne-Liege. He can be one of the better riders."

 

Speaking after his yesterday’s stage victory at the USA Pro Challenge, Howes confirmed words of Garmin-Sharp manager claiming, that he would target Ardennes-type races in the future.

 

"My specialty has always been kind of the short, punchy climbs," Howes said. "The real long, drawn out stuff, as we saw on Monarch Mountain, I can't really hang. So a real dream for me is to win something in the Ardennes, like Liege or Amstel Gold. Whether or not that will happen, I don't know. But I like to think of myself above everything else, as just a racer.

 

"I don't have the engine that a lot of guys do," Howes continued. "But I know how to put myself in the right place. I don't know what that will get me in the end, but more often than not it puts me on the floor."

 

Asked about contract extensions for other Garmin riders present at the USA Pro Challenge, particularly Caleb Fairly, Phil Gaimon and Thomas Dekker, Vaughters was reluctant to give clear answers.

 

The American team manager explained that a merger with Cannondale, with eight of their riders still yet to decide whether to join his squad or sign a new contract with other outfit, currently makes things too complicated to give immediate answers.

 

"[Janier] Acevedo is already on a two year deal," Vaughters said. "Gaimon has done an incredible job this year. He's not signed, but that doesn't mean he won't be. With Caleb, we're still looking at that and still in negotiation."

 

"It's all open," Vaughters said. "We have to see where we end up with the eight Cannondale riders if they're actually all coming over or not. So it's a little tricky in that regard with the merger, as any merger is – I'm sorry, marriage. Don't call it a merger."

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