Road

Young Guns: Columbia-HTC for 2010

You may not recognize many of the new names on the Columbia-HTC 2010 squad, but take note, says team owner Bob Stapleton, as they will likely be big names in the near future. Among the 10 new riders on the men’s roster, eight are under 25. They are: twin brothers Peter and Martin Velits, 24, Slovakia Matt Goss, 23, Australia Patrick Gretsch, 22, Germany Tejay Van Garderen, 21, USA Jan Ghyselinck, 20, Belgium Rasmus Guldhammer, 20, Denmark Leigh Howard, 20, Australia

You may not recognize many of the new names on the Columbia-HTC 2010 squad, but take note, says team owner Bob Stapleton, as they will likely be big names in the near future.

Among the 10 new riders on the men’s roster, eight are under 25. They are:
twin brothers Peter and Martin Velits, 24, Slovakia
Matt Goss, 23, Australia
Patrick Gretsch, 22, Germany
Tejay Van Garderen, 21, USA
Jan Ghyselinck, 20, Belgium
Rasmus Guldhammer, 20, Denmark
Leigh Howard, 20, Australia

Columbia also hired 29-year-old Danish time trial champion Lars Bak and 27-year-old Hayden Roulston, the former world and national champion from New Zealand.

“I’m generally pretty excited,” Stapleton told VeloNews. “A couple of years ago we brought in a bunch of young guys, and everybody went, ‘Ah, boring. Young guys. They’re not going to accomplish anything.’ A couple of years later, we’re rocking.
I think we’re set up to do that again.”

Columbia lost a few key veterans, including U.S. road champion George Hincapie, Tour of Missouri stage winner Michael Barry, Ghent-Wevelgem and Giro d’Italia stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen, Vuelta a España stage winner Greg Henderson, former Tour de France yellow jersey Kim Kirchen and Monte Paschi Eroica and Giro d’Italia pink jersey Thomas Lovkvist.

Stapleton said he didn’t engage in bidding wars with other teams for the veteran riders. “It depends on the circumstances – George and Barry in particular, they’re thinking about a lot of things, how much they want to race, their next career moves, spending time with their family — but I generally don’t like to bid up athletes,” he said. “I want people who want to be here. We always pay fair.”

Columbia’s roster includes 27 men, and Stapleton said the team still has the resources to recruit other riders. “We’re looking hard at everything. We have the stable of high performing athletes and processes,” he said. “We have our roster almost complete. We basically have what we need. There is nobody we’re hanging out and waiting for, we’re just opportunistic. We’re not chasing (Alberto) Contador, we’re not chasing (Fabian) Cancellara.”

Win machine still intact
Over the past two seasons, Columbia has won 152 UCI races. Stapleton was quick to point out that nearly 85 percent of this year’s wins came from riders still on the squad for next season, including sprint phenom Mark Cavendish.

“We’re focused on maximizing our sprint resources,” Stapleton said, pointing to the addition of Goss and Roulston to the firepower of current riders Cavendish and André Greipel plus leadout men Mark Renshaw and Adam Hansen.

“On the GC side, we’re securing younger talent,” Stapleton said, pointing to existing ridrs like Tony Martin, who had a great ride at the Tour de France this year, Kanstantsin “Kosta” Sivtsov and Maxime Monfort.

“There’s a lot of latent talent here, but no one is going to beat Contador any time soon,” Stapleton said. “I think the whole sport will be challenged there. We’ll continue to do what we do best, and be a very good sprint team that can also race aggressively and opportunistically.”

Women’s team
The number one women’s team for three years running will return at full force for 2010. In addition to familiar faces such as Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Judith Arndt and Kim Anderson, Columbia-HTC signed rookie sensation Evelyn Stevens.

“We had heard a little about her mid-season, and we did a little checking on her,” Stapleton said. “We got to see her face to face in the Route de France. She’s very impressive. She’s probably the strongest up and coming American right now. Smart, motivated, extremely fit. And she can survive in Europe. That’s the big challenge for American women.”

Stapleton said Teutenberg and Cavendish have a friendly running duel over who’s wining more races.

“And Ina has won more races than Mark,” Stapleton said. “They’re quite funny over that. She’s won 25 or 26 races. She won German national championships this year, which she’s never won as an elite. She’s just been huge for the team. She and Mark are great buddies.”

2010 Columbia-HTC 2010 Roster
Men’s team:

Michael Albasini, 28, Switzerland
Lars Bak, 29, Denmark
Mark Cavendish, 24, UK
Gert Dockx, 21, Belgium
Bernhard Eisel, 28, Austria
Jan Ghyselinck, 20, Belgium
Matt Goss, 23, Australia
Bert Grabsch, 34, Germany
André Greipel, 27, Germany
Rasmus Guldhammer, 20, Denmark
Patrick Gretsch, 22, Germany
Leigh Howard, 20, Australia
Adam Hansen, 28, Australia
Craig Lewis, 23, USA
Tony Martin, 24, Germany
Maxime Monfort, 26, Belgium
Marco Pinotti, 33, Italy
Frantisek Rabon, 25, Czech Republic
Mark Renshaw, 26, Australia
Vicente Reynes, 28, Spain
Hayden Roulston, 27, New Zealand
Michael Rogers, 29, Australia
Marcel Sieberg, 27, Germany
Kanstantsin Sivtsov, 27, Belarus
Tejay Van Garderen, 21, USA
Martin Velits, 24, Slovakia
Peter Velits, 24, Slovakia

Women’s team:
Kim Anderson, 41, USA
Judith Arndt, 34, Germany
Noeme Cantele, 28, Italy
Emilia Fahlin, 20, Sweden
Luise Keller, 25, Germany
Evelyn Stevens, 25, USA
Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, 34, Germany
Ellen Van Dijk, 22, Netherlands
Linda Melanie Villumsen, 24, Denmark