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Hesjedal saved for Tour
Garmin-Slipstream’s Giro d’Italia starts upside down, with the team’s most important stage coming on day 1 and everything else after that being a bonus in the three-week Italian grand tour starting Saturday.
With that in mind, the American team lines up with a loaded squad that should bring more firepower in the team’s quest to defend its title in the team time trial in the opening stage in Venice.
“We are bringing an incredible group of riders to the Giro d’Italia, and we have some big goals we want to achieve,” said sport director Matt White. “The team has been training hard for this race and we’d of course love to get the maglia rosa again, but we will be happy with a few strong performances.”
The team revealed its start list for the Giro, with its core from last year’s winning TTT back.
Christian Vande Velde, David Millar, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie and Julian Dean are all back from last year’s Giro team. The major exception is Ryder Hesjedal, who is being saved for the Tour de France.
“Narrowing down a grand tour list is always difficult, especially when guys like Ryder Hesjedal have been having a tremendous season,” White said. “But we need to keep our goal of helping Christian at the Tour de France in mind, and preserving someone like Ryder now could be a huge benefit to us later.”
The addition of Olympic double-gold champion Bradley Wiggins will be a tremendous boon to the team’s bid to repeat in the highly competitive team time trial.
Dean and Tyler Farrar will be the team’s cards to play in the sprints while newcomer Cameron Meyer gets his grand tour debut and Tom Danielson will be looking to have a strong ride to reaffirm his potential.
In other news, the team announced a new partnership with Cycling Australia to develop young track and road cyclists.
With the announcement, the team has signed a stagiaire contract with highly touted Aussie talent Jack Bobridge, the reigning Australian U23 road and time trial champion.
“Jack is a phenomenal talent — possibly the most talented rider of his generation,” said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports and director sportif of Team Garmin-Slipstream. “He excels on the road and on the track and makes an outstanding addition to our roster. We are thrilled that he decided to join Team Garmin-Slipstream.”
Among the best U-23 riders in the world, Bobridge claimed two silver medals at the Track World Championships in March for individual pursuit and team pursuit, the latter won alongside new teammate, Meyer. Bobridge is also the Oceania and Australian Individual Pursuit Champion.
“I chose Team Garmin-Slipstream because I believe in its mission of helping young riders reach their full potential,” said Bobridge. “I know that I will continue to grow as a part of this team – on the track and on the road.”
Earlier this season Garmin-Slipstream hired 21-year-old Meyer, who recently took home one gold and two silver medals at the track world championships and on the road claimed the bronze medal in the U-23 time trial at the 2008 road world championships.
Cycling Australia National Performance Director, Shayne Bannan, says the partnership is a ‘win-win situation’ for all involved.
“This is a fabulous opportunity for our riders and for our program,” said Bannan. “The team is well respected and they understand how important it is for us to have access to riders such as Cameron and Jack at critical periods to prepare for Commonwealth Games, World Championships and Olympic Games.”