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Italians aim for fresh start on new U.S.-based Cannondale squad

Five Italians from the Italian-based team will jump over to the new squad that combines Garmin-Sharp and Cannondale

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MILAN (VN) — Thanks to its new Cannondale sponsorship deal, Slipstream Sports has more Italians in its ranks for 2015 than ever before. The season will be one of adjustment and discovery for both the American team and its new cyclists.

“It will be a completely new team, we are facing a complete reshuffling of the deck,” Moreno Moser told Tutto Bici. “It’ll be a new project for everyone and with new finish lines to reach.”

Moser represents one of the five Italians making the switch from Cannondale’s Italian team to its new American outfit run by Jonathan Vaughters. In August, Cannondale announced it would leave the title sponsorship role of the Italy-based squad after four years and take over Garmin-Sharp with Americans Andrew Talansky, Joe Dombrowski, and others.

The team, known as Garmin-Sharp since 2012, will meet next week in Boulder, Colorado for its first training camp. For Moser, the nephew of Italian cycling great Francesco Moser, it is a needed breath of fresh air as he has struggled over the last two years to match his 2012 season.

In 2012 at 21 years old, he won two stages and the Tour of Poland overall, along with one-day races Trofeo Laigueglia and Eschborn-Frankfurt. In 2013, he rode solo into Siena to win Strade Bianche and placed third in the Tour de France’s stage to Alpe d’Huez. Since then, Moser has been mostly quiet.

“I want to re-find myself,” Moser added. “I want to begin to show my worth again.”

“Moreno only needs to have the right push to see what he can do, he has the quality and good numbers,” former Cannondale sport director Stefano Zanatta told VeloNews. “His head is such that when things go poorly, it’s hard on him. He needs to find a little bit of balance and … fresh air.”

Zanatta was responsible for recruiting many of Cannondale’s riders, including Peter Sagan — who will join Tinkoff-Saxo for 2015. Like many staff members on the Italian team, Zanatta is now unemployed.

“Speaking English all the time could be difficult for Moreno, but that’s the way it is more or less in cycling now,” Zanatta said. “He’s got to adapt. It’ll be a different and ‘new-school’ approach. The riders will have to be smart to integrate.”

Moser makes the transatlantic jump with Italians Davide Formolo, Davide Villella, Alberto Bettiol — all first-year pros in 2014 — and Alan Marangoni. American Ted King and Slovenians Kristjan Koren and Matej Mohoric are also joining.

“Peter Sagan could only take two riders with him to Tinkoff. He took his bother Juraj and Maciej Bodnar,” Zanatta said. “Alan Marangoni helped Peter and Elia Viviani throughout the season. With those strong domestique skills and his time trial strengths, [Marangoni] will adapt well in Vaughters’ team. He’s trustworthy in the classics, the grand tours, and the team time trial. He’ll fit in well with the team’s mentality. It’s a good opportunity for him to show his worth.

“Alberto Bettiol is 21, he’s young and still needs to mature. He needs a few more years before he can show what he can do.

“Davide Villella knows how to manage races already at 23,” Zanatta added. “If he has the right moment, he’ll go for it. He goes well in one-day races. We took him to the Ardennes Classics, and I think his new team should do the same. The team will also help him with his time trialling, where he already showed well this year.”

Italy pins a lot of hope on the 22-year-old Formolo from Verona. He placed seventh overall in the Tour de Suisse and second in the GP Industria & Artigianato behind Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) this season. He also finished second in the road race at the Italian national championships behind Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

“Maybe he’ll be like Moser, good at the start and then suffer under pressure afterwards,” Zanatta said of Formolo. “The good thing is that he’ll probably adjust quicker in Vaughters’ team because he was in our team for less time. He should be able to lead in smaller stage races and to learn for future grand tours.”