the biggest surprise for the 2012 pro cycling season is the absence of the htc-highroad powerhouse team. the team will be disbanded at the end of the season after a failed sponsor search (cycling news). so who’s moving where? peter and martin velits will be moving to the quickstep and have signed through to 2013. patrick gretsch signed with skil-shimano for 2 years. mark renshaw, mark cavendish’s key lead-out man, is moving to rabobank for 2 years. alex rasmussen has signed a deal with garmin-cervélo for 2 years (though his fate as a pro cyclist is currently unknown, since he missed an out of competition anti-doping test – cycling news). marco pinotti and tejay van garderen have made the move to bmc for the 2012 season, and will help bolster the team’s stage races. michael albasini, matt goss, and leigh howard have all signed deals with the new powerhouse pro team on the block, greenedge. tony martin is moving to the newly merged omega pharma-quick step team for 2012. newly crowned world road race champion, mark cavendish, has finally confirmed his move to sky – bernhard eisel will also be riding for sky next season. photo from team htc-highroad.
cadel evans renewed his contract through 2014, and george hincapie renewed through the end of 2012 (marking his 18th year as a pro cyclist). cadel’s tour de france teammates brent bookwalter, marcus burghardt, steve morabito, manuel quinziato and michael schär have all extended their contracts through the end of 2012 – martin kohler, mathias frank, and danilo wyss have also renewed their contracts. philippe gilbert (omega pharma-lotto) has signed a multi-million euro contract with bmc, and will be racing with them until the end of 2014. thor hushovd (garmin-cervélo) signed on for 3 years, stating, “it’s a serious team where it looks like everything is well-organized…everyone knows what to do. that’s a good thing.” as stated above, marco pinotti and tejay van garderen from htc-highroad have come on board for the 2012 season as well. adam blythe (omega pharma-lotto) and teammate klaas lodewyck have signed deals with bmc for the coming seasons. with gilbert’s superior classics form, alessandro ballan still riding like a 2008 world road race champion, and hushovd being 2010 world champion, cadel winning the 2011 tour de france, and hincapie being one of the most experienced cyclists in the world, it’s going to be an amazing season next year, for sure. hopefully, bmc can keep it together, and don’t end up with a case of “too many bullets in the chamber” – nothing worse than shooting blanks at races. greg van avermaet, still under contract with bmc, has been able to shine as a road cyclist without having to put in work for former omega pharma-lotto teammate, gilbert: “I have the ambition to be even better, but maybe that won’t happen in 2012,” he conceded. “I won’t leave BMC in any case, because that would be stupid.” (velonation). photo from bmc.
johan van summeren, this year’s paris-roubaix winner, has renewed his contract with garmin-cervélo and will be riding with the team through 2014. david millar has also renewed his contract with the team – let’s not forget that he’s on osymetric chainrings, too! sébastien rosseler (radioshack) will race for garmin-cervélo in the coming seasons. with his strong time trialing abilities, he’s being brought on board to help in the 2012 team time trial world championship. as stated in the htc-highroad portion, alex rasmussen will also be joining the squad for the next 2 years, if he isn’t banned by the danish cycling union for missing his anti-doping test (cycling news) . considering he’s talented on the track, I’d expect to see even more from him in the coming seasons. jacob rathe and alex howes, from garmin-cervélo’s development team, will be moving up to the proteam ranks and will be racing with the team next year as well. koldo fernandez (euskaltel-euskadi) is joining the team for the next seasons. robbie hunter (radioshack) has signed a contract with the team, and will be riding with them through the end of 2013. photo from steephill.
omega pharma-lotto’s pro team sponsors have split from each other, merging with other companies to form 2 separate teams (bike radar): omega pharma-quick step and lotto-belisol. quick step is stepping down as the lead sponsor of their own team, and joining forces with omega pharma to form a stronger belgian based super team for the coming seasons. kevin de weert (quick step) will be staying with the merged team, and will ride for them until the end of 2013, with an option for 2014. newly crowned world time trial champion, tony martin (htc-highroad) is joining the quick step merger for the next 3 seasons. peter velits (htc-highroad), and his brother martin velits will also be coming over for the coming seasons. stijn candenbergh (katusha) has also signed a contract with the team. french road race champion, sylvain chavanel (quick step) is staying with the merged team through the end of 2013. tom boonen (quick step) has had a rough season, but will be with the new team for 2 more years, with an option for 2014. along with chavanel and boonen, a handful of other riders have made new contracts with the team: kristof vandewalle, guillaume van keirsbulck, dries devenyns, and gert steegmans. polish riders, michal kwiatkowski (radioshack) and michal golas (vacansoleil-dcm), have both signed with the team through the end of 2013. frantisek rabon (htc-highroad), teammates bert grabsch and matthew brammeier will be riding with the merged team for the next 2 seasons. andy fenn (an post-sean kelly) will be riding with omega pharma-quick step, too. levi leipheimer (radioshack) is making his move back to a european cycling team – prior to racing for rabobank for 3 seasons, gerolsteiner for 2 and astana for another 2 – it also marks the end of his relationship with johan bruyneel (manager for us postal, discovery, astana, and radioshack). photo from omega pharma-lotto.
lotto-belisol is the second team forming from the ashes of omega pharma-lotto. olivier kaisen (omega pharma-lotto) and teammate jurgen van den broeck have signed contracts with the new team – van den broeck has signed on for 4 years. lars bak (htc-highroad) has signed on, hoping to have his chance in the spring classics with the new team for the coming seasons. omega pharma-lotto team members bart de clercq, francis de greef, jens debusschere, kenny dehaes, andre griepel, adam hansen, olivier kaisen, maarten neyens, vicente reynes, jürgen roelandts, marcel sieberg, jurgen van den broeck, jurgen vandewalle, jelle vanendert, tosh van der sande, and frederik willems have all signed contracts with the newly formed, 2012 team of lotto-belisol. gaetan bille (wallonie bruxelles-credit agricole) and teammate jonas vangenechten, brian bulgac (omega pharma-lotto-davo), sander cordeel (colba-mercury), greg henderson (sky), frederique robert (quick step), mehdi sohrabi (tabriz petrochemical), dennis vanendert, joost van leijen (vacansoleil-dcm) have also signed on board.
greenedge is the new australian based powerhouse (pending) pro team. last year’s failed pegasus sports pro cycling team has given way to a much more ambitious greenedge team with so many strong riders, it’ll be a surprise if they don’t make uci pro team status. jack bobridge (garmin-cervélo) with teammates cameron meyers and travis meyers were the first individuals to sign on board with greenedge – each rider has a 2-year contract with the team. garmin-cervélo riders julian dean, brett lancaster, matt wilson have also signed contracts with greenedge. cycling veteran, stuart o’grady (leopard-trek) is moving to the team next season. pieter weening (rabobank) is joining greenedge after spending nearly 8 years with rabobank. weening’s teammate, sebastian langeveld, is also joining. robbie mcewen (radioshack) and teammate fumiyuki beppu signed on with the australian team, as well. at 39, mcewen may be reaching the tail-end of his cycling career, but with his recent wins at the tour de wallonie-picarde, he’s proven himself a well-seasoned cyclist and sprinter. beppu is currently the national road and time trial champion of japan and will (hopefully) have more chances to prove himself at world tour events. daryl impey (net app) and christian meier (unitedhealthcare) signed contracts with greenedge for the 2012 season. tomas vaitkus (astana) with teammates allan davis and simon clarke have come on board as well. mitchell docker (skil-shimano) has been brought on board to help bolster the team’s classic’s squad. jens mouris (vacansoleil-dcm) will be on board, assisting o’grady with workhorse duties in the peloton. svein tuft (spidertech p/b c10) is hoping to try his hand at pro tour stage cycling and has joined the australian team. jens keukeleire (confidis) aims to race well with greenedge for the classics, and is essential to keeping the average age of the team under 28 – keukeleire is 22 years old. wesley sulzberger (fdj) is joining the team and is another young rider showing a lot of promise for the coming seasons. aidis kruopis (landbouwkrediet) signed on board, and hopes to improve his sprinting under the guidance of the other riders. htc-highroad riders michael albasini and matt goss are also on the roster. neo-pro, daniel teklehaymanot (eritrea) has also confirmed his contract with greenedge. photo from inrng – be sure to read ‘greenedge, the fastest team in the world?‘ by inrng as well!
yes, another pro cycling team merger. radioshack and leopard-trek have come together to form radioshack-nissan-trek. however, this team name violates uci section 2.15.050: “The name of the UCI ProTeam must be either that of the company or brand name of the principal partner or that of one or both of the two principal partners” – inrng. so it’s safe to assume that the name is going to be changed. my bet is that it’ll be called radioshack-trek, it’s much easier to say, and having ‘trek’ in the name makes it at least a little cycling related. but why the merger? well, one of the main goals for leopard-trek was to build a strong team around andy schleck for the tour de france. to that, he finished 2nd overall, once again. with danile bennati placing 2nd in a handful of sprints early in the season and fabian cancellara failing to shatter the classics, it seemed if as the team needed a helping hand of sorts. johan bruyneel will finally be able to try his hand with rider andy schleck – maybe the skilled manager can make a tour de france winner out of schleck after all.
the team will continue to use leopard-trek’s uci pro team license (cycling news). that being said, what’s the roster look like? a handful of riders on both sides are still on contract, but the following riders from radioshack have confirmed: chris horner, andreas klöden, usa national road champion matthew busche, jani brajkovic, nelson oliveira, robert wagner, jesse sergent, ben king, markel irizar, and haimar zubeldia. on the leopard-trek side of things: jens voigt, andy schleck, fränk schleck, daniele bennati, fabian cancellara, jakob fuglsang, maxime monfort, and robert wagner will all be sticking with the merger. in addition to these ‘core’ leopard-trek members, there are riders still under contract that will also be racing for the merged team: william clarke, stefan denifl, brice feillu, linus gerdemann, dominic klemme, anders lund, martin mortensen, giacomo nizzolo, joost posthuma, rüdiger selig, tom stamsnijder, davide vigano, fabian wegmann, and oliver zaugg. photo from team radioshack.
team sky has had a fairly successful season with numerous wins from their riders. their roster is bolstered with the addition of world road race champion, mark cavendish (htc-highroad). it was rumored that cavendish would join omega pharma-quick step because of his relationship with specialized bikes, which would conflict with sky’s 3-year contract with pinarello (inrng) – apparently, it’s all sorted now, and cavendish will (probably) continue to win sprints with a dogma 2. along with cavendish, his teammate from htc-highroad, bernhard eisel is joining the team for the coming seasons – kanstantsin sivtsov (htc-highroad) and teammate danny pate have also found homes with team sky for the coming season. the columbian climber, sergio henao (gobernacion de antioquia), will be racing with sky for the next 2 seasons – henao will be moving from columbia to pomplona, spain, joining his 2012+ teammate, rigoberto uran (sky). luke rowe, a neo-pro from the british olympic development program, will also be coming on board with sky for 2 years. all-arounder, richie porte (saxo bank-sunguard) has signed on with sky. u23 tour of flanders winner, salvatore puccio (italy) has signed with sky for the coming season, and will have his first taste of proteam racing. geraint thomas, ian stannard, ben swift, peter kennaugh, michael barry, juan antonio flecha, christian knees, davide appollonio, edvald boasson hagen, alex dowsett, juan antonio flecha, chris froome, mathew hayman, peter kennaugh, thomas lövkvist, lars petter nordhaug, and xabier zandio have renewed contracts with sky for the coming seasons. with impressive season results from all the riders this season, it appears that team sky is finally getting used to the pro tour ropes. let’s hope they can make it stick for 2012. photo from steephill.
skil-shimano, currently a professional continental team, is looking to boost their status to proteam in the coming seasons. skil is pulling their sponsorship from the team, and for the time being, the team has been renamed ‘project 14ti’ for 2012 (inrng). out of their current line-up, koen de kort, yann huguet, tom veelers, albert timmer, sprint superstar marcel kittel, alexandre geniez, simon geschke, johannes frohlinger, and bert de backer have all renewed contracts with skil-shimano. john degenkolb (htc-highroad) and teammate patrick gretsch have signed contracts with the team, as well. jonas aaen jørgensen (saxo bank-sunguard) has signed on too, with teammates jaroslaw marycz and ran margaliot. dominic klemme (leopard-trek) has joined project 14ti for the 2012 season, the 6th new rider to be brought on board. photo from tyneholm.
liquigas-cannondale was hoping for an overall grand tour win from either ivan basso, or vincenzo nibali this season, but ended up fairly empty-handed. that being said, the team won nearly 30 stage victories through the 2011 season with a lot of help from elia viviani, daniel oss, and peter sagan. they haven’t added anyone to their roster (yet), but many of the riders on the team have renewed their contracts: alessandro vanotti, sylvester szmyd, cristiano salerno, peter sagan, his younger brother juraj sagan, daniel oss, vincenzo nibali, alan marangoni, kristjan koren, mauro da dalto, damiano caruso, paolo longo borghini, ivan basso, valerio agnoli, elia viviani, fabio sabatini, simone ponzi, maciej paterski, davide cimolai, eros capecchi, and maciek bodnar. photo from team liquigas-cannondale.
saxo bank-sungard has had minor roster changes for the 2012 season: nicki sørensen, matteo tosatto, and manuele boaro have all renewed their contracts with the team for the coming season. sergio paulinho (radioshack) has confirmed his move to the danish pro team, and will reunite with alberto contador, who he rode with on astana 2 seasons ago. takashi miyazawa (farnese vini-neri sottoli) has signed a 1-year contract with the team, and hopes to be a valuable asset at the worldtour level. we’ll see what the team delivers next season – it’s obvious that though contador won the giro d’italia by a huge margin, he was still dissatisfied with his (team’s) performance on the tour de france, stating that it was possible to win both the giro and the tour de france in the same season, but with “…a more powerful team. You need to have stages that suit you, either a prologue, a mountain time trial or two time trials. But not a team time trial if you don’t have a strong team” (cycling news). contador skipped out on the vuelta after a placing 5th overall at the tour de france. he also chose not to race the world championships. and every other race still left in the season. we’ll see if team manager, bjarne riis, can help boost his team’s cooperation and skillsets. photo from zerorh.
vacansoleil-dcm brings on board kenny van hummel (ski-shimano) for 2 years. olympic silver time trial medalist, gustav larsson (saxo bank-sungard), will be joining for 2012, bolstering the team’s time-trialing abilities. a number of riders chose to renew contracts with the team, including: thomas de gendt, rob ruygh, wouter poels, and romain feillu. photo from nu sport.
lampre-isd heads into their 19th year as a professional cycling team (with various co-sponsors along the way, of course). their main roster remains unchanged for the most part, but they’re bringing on board davide cimolai (liquigas-cannondale) for the 2012 season. diego ulissi and adriano malori have renewed their contracts. with damiano cunego’s rather quiet 2011 season, it’s safe to say that they’ll be pushing harder for him and everyone else for the coming races. photo from lampre-isd.
katusha has had a number of their cyclists renew contracts with them, including: pavel brutt, denis galimzyanov, joaquin rodriguez oliver, and joan horrach rippoll. angel vicioso (androni giocattoli) has signed a 1-year contract with katusha for 2012. xavier florencio (geox-tmc), gatis smukulis (htc-highroad), and alexander kristoff (bmc) are all on board as well. 3-time world road race champion, oscar feire (rabobank) is spending his 15th, and final year, as a pro with katusha – he will assist in sprints, as well as try his hand in the world championships and the olympics. with galimzyanov consistently placing in sprints, and joaquin rodriguez proving himself worthy in the mountains, there’s a lot of good things left to come for katusha as a team. katusha will be under the new management of hans-michael holczer. holczer has hired 6-time tour de france green jersey winner, erik zabel, to be a sprint consultant for the team – previously, zabel worked with htc-highroad, mentoring mark cavendish. photo from katusha.
rabobank has renewed contracts with several riders, including: laurens ten dam, steven kruijswijk, rick flens, stef clement, lars boom, and juan manuel garate. the team does have a new sprinter for the 2012 season, though. mark renshaw (htc-highroad) was a key lead-out cyclist for mark cavendish, but with the team folding at the end of this season, renshaw had to look elsewhere for his talent. now that he’s part of a new team with a completely different dynamic, it’s safe to say he’ll have many more opportunities to shine as a tactical sprinter. photo from koos moerenhout.
astana has re-signed a handful of riders on their team, including paolo tiralongo, fracesco masciarelli, and alexander vinokourov. vinokourov broke his right femur on stage 9 of this year’s tour de france, and announced his retirement from cycling shortly thereafter (cycling news) – however, upon a followup visit with his surgeon, revealed that his recovery was going well, and that he may be coming back to race for the end of the season at the tour de lombardie (cycling news). looks like his retirement has been postponed though, since he’s renewed his contract with astana for the 2012 season. next season’s roster gets a boost from andrey kaschekin (lampre-isd) and teammate francesco gavazzi, egor silin (katusha), jacopo guarnieri (liquigas-cannondale), dimitry muravyev (radioshack), borut bozic (vacansoleil-dcm), and kevin seeldraeyers (quick step). photo from astana.
ag2r-la mondiale has signed a few continental and pro-continental riders to bolster their roster for 2012: sylvain georges (big-mat auber 93), romain bardet (chambéry cf), jimmy casper (saur sojasun), manuel belletti (colnago csf inox), and mehdi sohrabi (tabriz petrochemical). julien berard has chosen to renew his contract with the team, and will be on board for the next season. sohrabi has taken 9 stage victories (and 3 overall victories) with his continental team in 2011, and is proving to be a talented up and comer. with a fairly lack-luster 2011 season, it’ll be interesting to see if their new recruits can change their game around. photo from studio dumbar.
most appropriate team photo has to go to movistar, without a doubt. movistar has renewed contracts with a large portion of their riders: giovanni visconti, pablo lastras garcia, jose joaquin rojas gil, angel madrazo, francisco josé ventoso alberdi, sergio pardilla bellon, and andrey amador bikkazakova. jonathan castroviejo (euskaltel-euskadi) is joining movistar for the 2012 season, and brings with him strong time trialing abilities. alejandro valverde (caisse d’epargne) has been banned since 2010, after being linked to operacion puerto in 2006 – he’s in the advanced stages of contracting with movistar for 2012, and aims to race the tour de france and world championships. vladimir karpets (katusha) will be joining movistar for the 2012 season as well – karpets spent 6 years with the team manager, eusebio nzue, when the sponsors varied from banesto, iles baleares and caisse d’epargne (and now, movistar). photo from ciclismo espresso.
cofidis sees minor changes to their 2012 roster, re-signing david moncoutie, tristan valentin, and romain zingle. moncoutie proved himself at this year’s vuelta, winning 1 stage and taking the king of the mountains jersey. cofidis has also signed on remi di gregorio (astana). di gregorio hopes to have more opportunities to shine at his new team. photo from amici di bici.
if/when riders transfer to more teams, I will update the above information.
Tags: pro cycling