2012 UCI Pro Teams

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Professional cycling teams are ranked into three tiers. The top level is UCI Pro Team and the 18 teams here have automatic and obligatory access to the big races on the UCI’s World Tour calendar. In addition, there is a range of rules governing these teams that aim to ensure sporting and financial stability.

You’ll find the top-18 teams below, their sponsors explained plus riders and staff listed.

Click on the links to jump to the team.

Ag2r La Mondiale | Astana | BMC Racing | Euskaltel-Euskadi
FDJ-BigMat | Garmin-Barracuda | Greenedge Cycling | Katusha
Lampre-ISD | Liquigas-Cannondale | Lotto-Belisol | Movistar
Omega Pharma-Quickstep | Rabobank | Radioshack-Nissan | Sky Procycling
Team Saxo Bank | Vacansoleil-DCM


Ag2r La Mondiale

Country France
Sponsor Mutual healthcare plans and savings
Bikes Kuota, SRAM, Reynolds
Manager Vincent Lavenu
Sports Directors Laurent Biondi, Julien Jurdie, Arturas Kasputis, Gilles Mas, Didier Jannel
Manuel Belletti ITA 26
Julien Berard FRA 24
Guillaume Bonnafond FRA 24
Maxime Bouet FRA 25
Jimmy Casper FRA 33
Mikael Cherel FRA 25
Hubert Dupont FRA 31
Martin Elmiger SUI 33
John Gadret FRA 32
Ben Gastauer LUX 24
Gregor Gazvoda SLO 30
Sylvain Georges FRA 27
Kristof Goddaert BEL 25
Sébastien Hinault FRA 37
Steve Houanard FRA 25
Blel Kadri FRA 25
Romain Lemarchand FRA 24
Sébastien Minard FRA 29
Lloyd Mondory FRA 29
Matteo Montaguti ITA 28
Rinaldo Nocentini ITA 34
Jean-Christophe Peraud FRA 34
Mathieu Perget FRA 27
Anthony Ravard FRA 28
Christophe Riblon FRA 30
Nicolas Roche IRL 27
Boris Shpilevsky RUS 29
Amir Zargari IRI 31
Romain Bardet FRA 21

Comment: first in the alphabet but last in terms of wins for 2011. The French squad searched far and wide to get riders with enough points to stay in the top flight for 2012. Nevertheless the team is capable of winning more but often needs to do this via breakaways. But it has some sprinters who should win a stack of smaller races. Watch out for Manuel Belleti, the new Italian signing is fast. Team leaders Peraud and Roche will aim to be visible in the big races and crack the top-10 in the big stage races but if they were part of a squad like Sky or Radioshack-Nissan they’d probably be lieutenants not leaders.


Astana

Country Kazakhstan
Sponsor Kazakhstan national government
Bikes Specialized, SRAM
Manager Giuseppe Martinelli
Sports Directors Guido Bontempi, Dmitri Sedoun, Alexander Shefer
Assan Bazayev KAZ 30
Borut Bozic SLO 31
Janez Brajkovič SLO 28
Alexsandr Dyachenko KAZ 28
Dmitriy Fofonov KAZ 35
Enrico Gasparotto ITA 29
Francesco Gavazzi ITA 27
Andriy Grivko UKR 28
Dimitriy Gruzdev KAZ 29
Jacopo Guarnieri ITA 24
Maxim Iglinskiy KAZ 30
Valentin Iglinskiy KAZ 27
Tanel Kangert EST 24
Andrey Kashechkin KAZ 31
Fredrik Kessiakoff SWE 31
Robert Kiserlovski CRO 25
Roman Kreuziger CZE 25
Francesco Masciarelli ITA 25
Dmitriy Muravyev KAZ 32
Yevgeny Nepomnyachsniy KAZ 24
Evgeny Petrov RUS 33
Simone Ponzi ITA 24
Sergey Renev KAZ 27
Kevin Seeldraeyers BEL 25
Egor Silin RUS 23
Paolo Tiralongo ITA 34
Alexandr Vinokourov KAZ 38
Andrey Zeits KAZ 25

Comment: the team exists to provide glory to the oil-rich totalitarian dictatorship of Kazakhstan and the vehicle for Vinokourov. He also retired last year but Vino has continued, largely to lend his haul of points to the team in order to keep them in the top flight. But the team has been busy hiring new riders. Look no further than Janez Brajkovič but watch Jacopo Guarnieri too, he is a fast-finisher. 2012 should be a big year for Roman Kreuziger, the Czech has been a force since his days in junior ranks but has yet to land the big result to go from talented prospect to champion. There are other strong individuals, the team can win on almost any terrain.


BMC Racing

Country USA
Sponsor BMC bicycles
Bikes BMC, Shimano
Managers Gavin Chilcott and Jim Ochowicz
Sports Directors John Lelangue, Rik Verbrugghe, Fabio Baldato, Mike Sayers, Maximilian Sciandri, Noel Dejonckheere
Alessandro Ballan ITA 32
Adam Blythe GBR 22
Brent Bookwalter USA 27
Marcus Burghardt GER 28
Stephen Cummings GBR 30
Cadel Evans AUS 34
Mathias Frank SUI 25
Philippe Gilbert BEL 29
George Hincapie USA 38
Thor Hushovd NOR 33
Martin Kohler SUI 26
Klaas Lodewyck BEL 23
Amaël Moinard FRA 29
Steve Morabito SUI 28
Marco Pinotti ITA 35
Manuel Quinziato ITA 32
Mauro Santambrogio ITA 27
Ivan Santaromita ITA 27
Michael Schär SUI 25
Johann Tschopp SUI 29
Greg Van Avermaet BEL 26
Tejay Van Garderen USA 23
Danilo Wyss SUI 26
Yannick Eijssen BEL 22
Taylor Phinney USA 21
Thimothy Roe AUS 22

Comment: A very different team to last year with the arrival of Philippe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd for the classics thanks to the big spending of team owner Andy Rihs. Greg Van Avermaet was proving an able winner last year, we’ll see how he is deployed alongside the big signings. Cadel Evans now has more help for the Tour de France thanks to the arrival of Tejay Van Garderen and Marco Pinotti, indeed the squad is much stronger compared to 2011.


Euskaltel – Euskadi

Country Spain
Sponsor Basque regional government, local telecoms provider
Bikes Orbea, Shimano
Manager Miguel Madariaga Barinaga
Sports Directors Gorka Gerrikagoitia Arrien, Alvaro Gonzalez De Galdeano, Inaki Isasi Flores
Igor Anton Hernandez ESP 28
Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau ESP 32
Jorge Azanza Soto ESP 29
Victor Cabedo ESP 22
Pierre Cazaux FRA 27
Ricardo Garcia Ambroa ESP 23
Gorka Izagirre Insausti ESP 24
Egoi Martinez De Esteban ESP 33
Miguel Minguez Ayala ESP 23
Mikel Nieve Ituralde ESP 27
Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde ESP 31
Alan Perez Lezaun ESP 29
Ruben Perez Moreno ESP 30
Adrian Saez ESP 25
Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez ESP 33
Romain Sicard FRA 24
Amets Txurruka ESP 29
Pablo Urtasun Perez ESP 31
Ivan Velasco Murillo ESP 31
Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui ESP 33
Peio Bilbao ESP 21
Jon Izaguirre Insausti ESP 22
Mikel Landa Meana ESP 22

Comment: This could be the team’s last year in the top flight as budget troubles appear. It has the minimum roster allowed under the rules and its best riders are being poached by rival Spanish squad Movistar. The proud regional identity of the team shines through but their best rider, Samuel Sanchez isn’t fully from the Basque region. Expect to see them active in early breakaways, livening up the race.


FDJ – BigMat

Country France
Sponsor French state lottery, building materials retailer
Bikes Lapierre, Shimano
Manager Marc Madiot
Sports Directors Thierry Bricaud, Martial Gayant, Yvon Madiot, Frank Pineau
William Bonnet FRA 29
David Boucher FRA 31
Sandy Casar FRA 32
Steve Chainel FRA 28
Mickael Delage FRA 26
Pierrick Fedrigo FRA 33
Arnaud Gerard FRA 27
Anthony Geslin FRA 31
Frédéric Guesdon FRA 40
Yauheni Hutarovich BLR 28
Arnold Jeannesson FRA 25
Matthieu Ladagnous FRA 27
Francis Mourey FRA 31
Yoann Offredo FRA 25
Rémi Pauriol FRA 29
Cédric Pineau FRA 26
Thibaut Pinot FRA 21
Gabriel Rasch NOR 35
Dominique Rollin CAN 29
Anthony Roux FRA 24
Jérémy Roy FRA 28
Geoffrey Soupe FRA 23
Benoît Vaugrenard FRA 30
Jussi Veikkanen FIN 30
Arthur Vichot FRA 23
Nacer Bouhanni FRA 21
Arnaud Courteille FRA 22
Arnaud Demare FRA 20
Kenny Elissonde FRA 20

Comment: a return to the Pro Team for 2012, the squad has recruited some more riders. Fedrigo has a world-class engine but misfired last year after a parasite infection bugged him. There’s a lot of promise on the squad but going from contenders to actual race-winners is the team’s biggest challenge. Jérémy Roy is an interesting rider with an engineering degree, a column in L’Equipe and social-media mastery on top of his breakaway speciality. Watch Thibaut Pinot, a talented climber with some impressive wins to his name already and don’t forget Arnold Jeannesson, white jersey in the Tour de France for a while last year.


Garmin – Barracuda

Country USA
Sponsor Satellite navigation and cycle computers; IT security, networking and storage
Bikes Cervélo, Shimano, Rotor, Mavic
Manager Jonathan Vaughters
Sports Directors Alan Peiper, Eric Van Lancker, Chann McRae, Bingen Fernandez, Geert Van Bondt, Charles Wegelius
Jack Bauer NZL 26
Tom Danielson USA 33
Thomas Dekker NED 27
Tyler Farrar USA 27
Koldo Fernandez ESP 30
Murilo Fischer BRA 32
Nathan Haas AUS 22
Heinrich Haussler AUS 27
Ryder Hesjedal CAN 31
Alex Howes USA 24
Robbie Hunter RSA 34
Andreas Klier GER 35
Michel Kreder NED 24
Raymond Kreder NED 22
Christophe Le Mevel FRA 31
Martijn Maaskant NED 28
Dan Martin IRL 25
David Millar GBR 35
Ramunas Navardauskas LTU 23
Tom Peterson USA 25
Jacob Rathe USA 20
Alex Rasmussen DEN 27
Sebastien Rosseler BEL 30
Peter Stetina USA 24
Andrew Talansky USA 23
Christian Vande Velde USA 35
Johan Vansummeren BEL 30
Fabian Wegmann GER 31
David Zabriskie USA 32
Sep Vanmarcke BEL 23

Comment: a team but a collection of individuals too, the squad had a great time last year with wins in the classics and Tour de France although a lot of this was connected to Thor Hushovd who’s gone to BMC. But there are plenty of others, Farrar remains one of the biggest rivals to Mark Cavendish in the sprint and Dan Martin sits in the top-10 of the UCI rankings. Watch Navardauskas for his hard work, a neo-pro who can pull the peloton along. A key signing isn’t a rider but a manager in Allan Peiper, the DS brings a lot of experience.


Greenedge

Country Australia
Sponsor None for now, funded by Ryan family
Bikes Scott, Shimano
Manager Shayne Bannan
Sports Directors Matthew White, Laurenzo Lapage, Lionel Marie, Neil Stephens, Daniele Nardello, Vittorio Algeri
Michael Albasini SUI 31
Fumiyuki Beppu JPN 28
Jack Bobridge AUS 22
Simon Clarke AUS 25
Baden Cooke AUS 33
Allan Davis AUS 31
Julian Dean NZL 36
Mitchell Docker AUS 25
Simon Gerrans AUS 31
Matthew Goss AUS 25
Leigh Howard AUS 22
Daryl Impey RSA 27
Jens Keukeleire BEL 23
Aidis Kruopis LTU 25
Brett Lancaster AUS 32
Sebastian Langeveld NED 26
Robbie Mcewen AUS 39
Christian Meier CAN 26
Cameron Meyer AUS 24
Travis Meyer AUS 22
Jens Mouris NED 31
Stuart O’Grady AUS 38
Wesley Sulzberger AUS 25
Daniel Teklehaymanot ERI 23
Svein Tuft CAN 34
Tomas Vaitkus LTU 29
Pieter Weening NED 30
Matthew Wilson AUS 34
Luke Durbridge AUS 20
Michael Hepburn AUS 20

Comment: the new kid in town, Greenedge is the Australian team. Arguably Britain copied the Australian model of lavish funding and talent-spotting for the track to bring Olympic medals, this programme has spin-offs with the endurance events (pursuit, points etc) providing enough riders to fill a team. Now the Australians have mimicked the British and Team Sky with this squad. We’ll see how they gel for 2012, the team is packed with sprinters and those of a track pedigree so expect some wins in the sprints. As well as hunting for wins they’re looking for a sponsor and there could be good news here soon.


Katusha

Country Russia
Sponsor Various Russian companies linked to the Kremlin
Bikes Canyon, Shimano, Mavic
Managers Hans-Michael Holzer, Theo Maucher
Sports Directors Christian Henn, Valerio Piva, Mario Chiesa, Claudio Cozzi, Dmitri Konychev
Maxim Belkov RUS 27
Pavel Brutt RUS 29
Giampaolo Caruso ITA 31
Xavier Florencio ESP 32
Oscar Freire ESP 35
Denis Galimzyanov RUS 24
Vladimir Gusev RUS 29
Juan Horrach ESP 37
Petr Ignatenko RUS 24
Mikhail Ignatiev RUS 26
Vladimir Isaichev RUS 25
Alexander Kristoff NOR 24
Timofey Kritskiy RUS 24
Aliaksandr Kuschynski BLR 32
Alberto Losada ESP 29
Denis Menchov RUS 33
Daniel Moreno ESP 30
Luca Paolini ITA 34
Alexander Porsev RUS 25
Joaquin Rodriguez ESP 32
Rudiger Selig GER 22
Gatis Smukulis LAT 24
Simon Spilak SLO 25
Yury Trofimov RUS 27
Alexey Tsatevitch RUS 22
Maxime Vantomme BEL 25
Angel Vicioso ESP 34
Eduard Vorganov RUS 29
Marco Haller AUT 20

Comment: Team Kremlin had a reorganisation over the winter with, out went some Italian and Russian managers, in came the Germans Hans-Michael Holzcer and Theo Maucher. Menchov arrives after the Geox team, we will see if he can regain his ability to be a contender for the grand tours. Rodriguez is a versatile rider and the battle with Alejandro Valverde for uphill finishes could be a duel worth watching in 2012. Galimzyanov is the sprinter, a powerful rider who is expected to improve and Freire lurks as usual. I’m more interested in the sponsors and management but make no mistake this is one of the biggest-budget teams in the sport and they’ve got ambitions to match.


Lampre – ISD

Country Italy
Sponsor Italian pre-coated steel, Ukrainian steel mills
Bikes Willier Triestina, Campagnolo
Manager Antonio Sarroni
Sports Directors Roberto Damiani, Bruno Vicino
Winner Anacona COL 23
Leonardo Bertagnolli ITA 34
Grega Bole SLO 26
Matteo Bono ITA 28
Vitaliy Buts UKR 25
Davide Cimolai ITA 22
Damiano Cunego ITA 30
Massimo Graziato ITA 23
Danilo Hondo GER 38
Matthew Lloyd AUS 28
Adriano Malori ITA 23
Marco Marzano ITA 31
Manuele Mori ITA 31
Przemyslaw Niemiec POL 31
Oleksandr Kvachuk UKR 28
Alessandro Petacchi ITA 38
Daniele Pietropolli ITA 31
Morris Possoni ITA 27
Daniele Righi ITA 35
Michele Scarponi ITA 32
Alessandro Spezialetti ITA 36
Simone Stortoni ITA 26
Diego Ulissi ITA 22
Davide Vigano ITA 27

Comment: the Italian team with a Ukrainian flavour, the pink and blue jersey has been a fixture in the sport since 1993, indeed some riders on the team are old enough, just, to have been able to sign for the team back then and the team has the oldest average age. Cunego, Scarponi and Petacchi remain the leaders but watch the progress of Ulissi; Polish rider Niemiec is a strong finisher uphill and could get a chance. And Winner Anacona has to be the best name in the peloton.


Liquigas – Cannondale

Country Italy
Sponsor Dutch-owned domestic bottled gas distributor, Canadian-owned bicycle brand
Bikes Cannondale, SRAM
Manager Roberto Amadio
Sports Directors Dario Mariuzzo, Mario Scirea, Alberto Volpi, Stefano Zanatta, Paolo Slongo, Biagio Conte
Valerio Agnoli ITA 27
Ivan Basso ITA 34
Maciej Bodnar POL 26
Federico Canuti ITA 26
Eros Capecchi ITA 25
Damiano Caruso ITA 24
Tiziano Dalto Da ITA 30
Mauro Dall’antonia ITA 28
Timothy Duggan USA 29
Edward King USA 28
Kristijan Koren SLO 25
Paolo Longo Borghini ITA 31
Alan Marangoni ITA 27
Dominik Nerz GER 22
Vincenzo Nibali ITA 27
Daniel Oss ITA 24
Maciej Paterski POL 25
Daniele Ratto ITA 22
Fabio Sabatini ITA 26
Peter Sagan SVK 21
Juraj Sagan SVK 23
Cristiano Salerno ITA 26
José Sarmiento COL 24
Sylvester Szmyd POL 33
Alessandro Vanotti ITA 31
Elia Viviani ITA 22
Stefano Agostini ITA 23
Moreno Moser ITA 21

Comment: the youngest team, the squad is about three riders: Basso, Nibali and Sagan and many others in the team are there solely to support their leaders. But Capecchi is a prospect and Elia Viviani is a very fast sprinter who is aiming for a gold in the omnium competition on the track in the Olympics. And we’ll see if Daniel Oss can win for himself or becomes a deluxe bodyguard for Sagan. Note Moreno Moser has joined the squad, he is the nephew of Franceso Moser, one of the sport’s all time great riders.


Lotto – Belisol

Country Belgium
Sponsor Belgian state lottery, Aluminium windows and doors
Bikes Ridley, Campagnolo
Manager Bill Olivier
Sports Directors Marc Sergeant, Herman Frison, Jean Pierre Heynderickx, Marc Wauters, Bart Leysen, Michiel Elijzen, Mario Aerts
Lars Ytting Bak DEN 31
Gaetan Bille BEL 23
Brian Bulgac NED 23
Sander Cordeel BEL 24
Bart Clercq BEL 25
Francis De Greef BEL 26
Kenny De Haes BEL 27
Gert Dockx BEL 23
André Greipel GER 29
Adam Hansen AUS 30
Greg Henderson NZL 35
Olivier Kaisen BEL 28
Maarten Neyens BEL 26
Gianni Meersman BEL 26
Vicente Mimo Reynes ESP 30
Jurgen Roelandts BEL 26
Fréderique Robert BEL 22
Marcel Sieberg GER 29
Mehdi Sohrabi IRI 30
Jurgen Van De Walle BEL 34
Jurgen Van Den Broeck BEL 28
Joost Van Leijen NED 27
Jelle Vanendert BEL 26
Dennis Vanendert BEL 23
Jonas Vangenechten BEL 25
Frederik Willems BEL 32
Jens Debusschere BEL 22
Tosh Van Der Sande BEL 21

Comment: over the winter the Omega Pharma-Lotto squad has split with the Lotto rump remaining here. André Greipel gets more help for the sprints with Henderson. Vandendert is becoming a strong climber. It’s a big year for Van Den Broeck, the Belgian crashed out of the Tour de France and needs a good result to justify his status as team leader.


Movistar

Country Spain
Sponsor Spanish mobile telecoms provider
Bikes Pinarello, Campagnolo
Manager Eusebio Unzue
Sports Directors José Luis Jaimerena, Yvon Ledanois, José Luis Arrieta, Alfonso Galilea
Andrey Amador Bakkazakova CRC 25
David Arroyo Duran ESP 32
Marzio Bruseghin ITA 37
Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas ESP 24
Juan José Cobo ESP 30
Imanol Erviti Ollo ESP 28
Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa POR 25
José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios ESP 33
José Herrada Lopez ESP 26
Benat Intxausti Elorriaga ESP 25
Javier Iriarte ESP 25
Vladimir Karpets RUS 31
Vasili Kiryienka BLR 30
Ignatas Konovalovas LTU 26
Pablo Lastras Garcia ESP 35
David Lopez Garcia ESP 30
Angel Madrazo Ruiz ESP 23
Javier Moreno Bazan ESP 27
Sergio Pardilla Bellon ESP 27
Ruben Plaza Molina ESP 31
Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil ESP 26
Branislau Samoilau BLR 26
Alejandro Valverde ESP 31
Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi ESP 29
Giovanni Visconti ITA 28
Jesus Herrada Lopez ESP 21
Nairo Quintana Rojas COL 21
Enrique Sanz ESP 22

Comment: one of the strongest squads going. If some teams have sprint trains, Movistar can deploy the same method in the mountains with a range of riders to excel uphill, whether in shorter climbs with new recruit Visconti or with the likes of Valverde or Cobo. Castroviejo is a prologue specialist, Madrazo is a puncheur and others like Samoilau, Rui Costa, Intxausti and Kiriyenka are capable of winning week-long stage races, the staple of Spanish racing.


Omega Pharma – Quickstep

Country Belgium
Sponsor Consumer healthcare products, US-owned flooring materials company
Bikes Specialized, SRAM
Managers Marc Coucke, Patrick Lefevere
Sports Directors Davide Bramati, Brian Holm, Wilfried Peeters, Jan Schaffrath, Tom Steels, Rik Van Slycke
Marco Bandiera ITA 27
Tom Boonen BEL 31
Matt Brammeier IRL 26
Dario Cataldo ITA 26
Sylvain Chavanel FRA 32
Francesco Chicchi ITA 31
Gerald Ciolek GER 25
Kevin De Weert BEL 29
Dries Devenyns BEL 28
Michał Gołaś POL 27
Bert Grabsch GER 36
Michał Kwiatkowski POL 21
Levi Leipheimer USA 38
Nikolas Maes BEL 25
Tony Martin GER 26
Serge Pauwels BEL 28
Jérôme Pineau FRA 32
František Raboň CZE 28
Gert Steegmans BEL 31
Zdenek Stybar CZE 26
Niki Terpstra NED 27
Stijn Vandenbergh BEL 27
Kristof Vandewalle BEL 26
Martin Velits SVK 26
Peter Velits SVK 26
Andrew Fenn GBR 21
Michal Kwiatkowski POL 21
Matteo Trentin ITA 22
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck BEL 20
Julien Vermote BEL 22

Comment: once Team Boonen, the squad has branched out to ensure it doesn’t rely on the man from Balen. Boonen himself remains a contender for the classics, who knows what would have happened if his chain didn’t jam in the Arenberg forest during Paris-Roubaix? But that’s the point, the team is planning for these things now. Martin is the big signing, the time trial champion is strong on all but the most mountainous of roads. Chavanel is capable of winning the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix. Note the East European flavour with the Velits twins, Stybar and the Poles. All good riders but means to sell Quickstep flooring into growing economies too. Van Keirsbulck looked very useful in his first year as a pro, watch him.


Rabobank

Country Netherlands
Sponsor Retail banking
Bikes Giant, Shimano
Manager Harold Knebel
Sports Directors Frans Maassen, Nico Verhoeven, Erik Dekker, Jan Boven, Adri Van Houwelingen
Carlos Barredo ESP 30
Jetse Bol NED 22
Lars Boom NED 26
Theo Bos NED 28
Matti Breschel DEN 27
Graeme Brown AUS 32
Stef Clement NED 29
Rick Flens NED 28
Juan Manuel Garate ESP 35
Robert Gesink NED 25
Steven Kruijswijk NED 24
Thomas Leezer NED 26
Paul Martens GER 28
Bauke Mollema NED 25
Grischa Niermann GER 36
Mark Renshaw AUS 29
Luis Leon Sanchez ESP 28
Bram Tankink NED 33
Laurens Ten Dam NED 31
Maarten Tjallingii NED 34
Jos Vam Emden NED 26
Dennis Van Winden NED 24
Coen Vermeltfoort NED 23
Maarten Wynants BEL 29
Wilco Kelderman NED 20
Michael Matthews AUS 21
Tom Jelte Slagter NED 22

Comment: any bank wanting to project an image of security and dependability doesn’t have to look further than Rabobank. The pro team is the top tier of the company’s investment in Dutch cycling and the squad is a fixture of pro cycling. An all round team they can count of Gesink and Mollema for stage races, Breschel and Boom for the classics and there’s several contenders for the sprints, with Renshaw joining. Watch Kelderman and Matthews too. Sanchez was invisible for much of last year but came good for the Tour de France.


Radioshack – Nissan

Country Luxembourg
Sponsor US consumer electronics retail / Japanese auto manufacturer
Bikes Trek, Shimano
Managers Ricardo Scheidecker, Johan Bruyneel
Sports Directors Luca Guercilena, Kim Andersen, Lars Michaelsen, José Azevedo, Dirk Demol
Jan Bakelants BEL 25
Daniele Bennati ITA 31
George Bennett NZL 21
Matthew Busche USA 26
Fabian Cancellara SUI 30
Laurent Didier LUX 27
Jakob Fuglsang DEN 26
Tony Gallopin FRA 23
Linus Gerdemann GER 29
Ben Hermans BEL 25
Christopher Horner USA 40
Markel Irizar ESP 31
Benjamin King USA 22
Andreas Klöden GER 36
Tiago Machado POR 26
Maxime Monfort BEL 28
Nelson Oliveira POR 22
Yaroslav Popovych UKR 32
Joost Posthuma NED 30
Grégory Rast SUI 31
Thomas Rohregger AUT 29
Hayden Roulston NZL 31
Andy Schleck LUX 26
Frank Schleck LUX 31
Jesse Sergent NZL 23
Jens Voigt GER 40
Robert Wagner GER 28
Oliver Zaugg SUI 30
Haimar Zubeldia ESP 34
Giacomo Nizzolo ITA 22

Comment: the result of a merger between Radioshack and Leopard, the deal was done to keep both teams on the road but has resulted in a powerful team. It goes without saying Andy Schleck needs a win, arguably the best climber in the world he should find team management obliging him to improve weaknesses in descending and time trialling. Cancellara lost out to Tony Martin last year but the duel should be fascinating this year and he’ll find support for the classics, something lacking last year.Voigt soldiers on and the team has riders who could be leaders if they left for a small squad, like Klöden or Fuglsang . Watch Sergent, a top time triallist and Gallopin.


Sky Pro Cycling

Country Great Britain
Sponsor Television broadcaster
Bikes Pinarello, Shimano
Manager David Brailsford
Sports Directors Sean Yates, Steven De Jongh, Marcus Ljungqvist, Servais Knaven, Nicolas Portal
Davide Appollonio ITA 22
Michael Barry CAN 36
Edvald Boasson Hagen NOR 24
Mark Cavendish GBR 26
Alex Dowsett GBR 23
Bernhard Eisel AUT 30
Juan Antonio Flecha ESP 34
Chris Froome GBR 26
Mathew Hayman AUS 33
Sergio Henao COL 24
Jeremy Hunt GBR 37
Peter Kennaugh GBR 22
Christian Knees GER 30
Thomas Löfkvist SWE 27
Lars Petter Nordhaug NOR 27
Danny Pate USA 32
Richie Porte AUS 26
Salvatore Puccio ITA 22
Michael Rogers AUS 32
Luke Rowe GBR 21
Kanstantin Siutsou BLR 29
Ian Stannard GBR 24
Christopher Sutton AUS 27
Ben Swift GBR 24
Geraint Thomas GBR 25
Rigoberto Uran COL 24
Bradley Wiggins GBR 31
Xabier Zandio ESP 34

Comment: arguably the most complete team for 2012. They can win sprints, classics and are even close to landing a grand tour win. Team management have a problem most other managers would love to grapple with: how to fit so many riders together. For example can you give Thomas and Boasson Hagen leadership roles when they might also be on lead out duty for Cavendish? Will Sutton and Swift be locomotives in the sprint train. Can Uran and Porte win or will they pull for Wiggins? All these questions will be settled in time and you can be sure the methodic managers have it all worked out… on paper at least. The Tour de France is looking good for Wiggins and the surprise of Froome in the Vuelta gives the team even more options. Watch Henao and Kennaugh for suprises.


Team Saxo Bank

Country Denmark
Sponsor Foreign currency broker
Bikes Specialized, SRAM
Manager Bjarne Riis
Sports Directors Dan Frost, Nicolas Gates, Fabrizio Guidi, Tristan Hoffman, Philippe Mauduit, Bradley McGee
Manuele Boaro ITA 24
Jonathan Cantwell AUS 30
Mads Christensen DEN 27
Alberto Contador ESP 29
Volodymir Gustov UKR 34
Juan José Haedo ARG 30
Lucas Sebastian Haedo ARG 28
Jesus Hernandez ESP 30
Jonas Jörgensen DEN 25
Christopher Juul Jensen DEN 22
Kasper Klostergaard DEN 28
Karsten Kroon NED 35
Anders Lund DEN 26
Ran Margaliot ISR 23
Jaroslaw Marycz POL 24
Takashi Miyazawa JPN 33
Michael Morkov DEN 26
Daniel Navarro ESP 28
Benjamin Noval ESP 32
Nick Nuyens BEL 31
Sergio Paulinho POR 31
Bruno Pires POR 30
Luke Roberts AUS 34
Nicki Sörensen DEN 36
Chris Anker Sörensen DEN 27
David Tanner AUS 27
Matteo Tosatto ITA 37
Troels Ronning Vinther DEN 24
Rafal Majka POL 22

Comment: the team’s fate is largely dependent on a Swiss arbitration court and Contador’s future sets the tone for the whole squad. Capable of winning two grand tours in a season, Contador will find a squad at his service if he is able to continue riding. But team manager Bjarne Riis is able to get out of the tightest corners and bring out the best in his riders, for example don’t be surprise to see Kroon or Nuyens win a classic. Note the sponsor has signed on for one year and the team will need some success to continue.


Vacansoleil – DCM

Country Netherlands
Sponsor Holiday campsites, Gardenening products
Bikes Bianchi, Shimano, FFWD
Manager Daan Luijkx
Sports Directors Hilaire Van Der Schueren, Michel Cornelisse, Charles Palmans, Jean-Paul Van Poppel
Kris Boeckmans BEL 24
Matteo Carrara ITA 32
Thomas De Gendt BEL 25
Stefan Denifl AUT 24
Stijn Devolder BEL 32
Romain Feillu FRA 27
Johnny Hoogerland NED 28
Martijn Keizer NED 23
Sergey Lagutin UZB 30
Gustav Larsson SWE 31
Björn Leukemans BEL 34
Pim Ligthart NED 23
Bertjan Lindeman NED 22
Marco Marcato ITA 27
Tomasz Marczynski POL 27
Wouter Mol NED 29
Jacek Morajko POL 30
Martin Mortensen DEN 27
Nikita Novikov RUS 22
Marcello Pavarin ITA 25
Wouter Poels NED 24
Rob Ruijgh NED 25
Mirko Selvaggi ITA 26
Rafael Valls ESP 24
Kenny Van Hummel NED 29
Kevin Van Impe BEL 30
Frederik Veuchelen BEL 33
Lieuwe Westra NED 29
Barry Markus NED 20

Comment: an attacking team who liven up many a race, I sometimes feel this comes at the expense of actual wins. Hoogerland’s antics are popular but he is surely capable of winning and barring any rogue drivers, he should do something. Feillu is a useful sprinter, wild to watch yet intelligent too. The likes of Poels and Westra are strong rouleurs. The main sponsor provides camping holidays around Europe and team management focus on hiring value for money talent across Europe. Happy campers include Valls, poached from the collapse of Geox and signing Novikov was a coup, the Russian neo pro was pulled away from Katusha.

 

UCI Pro Continental and Continental status
The next level down is UCI Pro Continental and, pending confirmation, there are 22 teams. These squads have a lighter regulatory regime but nevertheless must comply with many rules. Finally there is the UCI Continental level which offers professional status and at the time of writing there are 80 teams around the world with this label.

Patrick January 12, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Great stuff, and I’m relieved that for now there are still a few pro’s older than me!

I’m curious to know what’s happened to riders in the pro tour last year who for various reasons aren’t this year, I see that Brice Feillu has joined Saur-Sojasun, but I’m intrigued to find out what’s happened to rider’s like Roger Hammond and Dan Lloyd?

Ian January 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Phew, after the mind warping of the Contador case something clear and straightforward that I’ll be referring to throughout the season, thanks. I’ve been wondering do people tend to follow a team, individual riders or both ?

quercus January 12, 2012 at 1:45 pm

there’s a typo in the Katusha Team list, Denis Menchov is not ESP, and Daniel Moreno is not RUS. their ages might also be switched-up too?

The Inner Ring January 12, 2012 at 1:52 pm

quercus: yes, a Japanese reader spotted that and told me via twitter, it’s fixed. Thanks for pointing this out all the same.

daniel alpin January 12, 2012 at 2:32 pm

great stuff!!! i’m starting to get excited now

Pave January 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I keep reading that the “new” Quickstep will target more GC spots with the likes of Leipheimer and Martin on board. I know, for example, that Leipheimer will make Tour of California a big priority. Inner Ring, does this seem like a real possibility or just marketing from Lefevere?

vL January 12, 2012 at 5:30 pm

@Ian Because teams dont stay around for too long, I believe most people follow a rider or a nationality. Personally, my favourite rider is Cadel, but I like to see Vaconsoleil do well for a team. But ill always support Dutch or Australian riders due to my ethnicity.

The Inner Ring January 12, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Patrick: Lloyd and Hammond appear to be out of contract for 2012.

Pave: Leipheimer has won the Tour of California several times and new bike sponsor Specialized will be keen for the coverage. As for Tony Martin, he’s easily capable of winning one week stage races as he can time trial so well but is strong in all but the highest mountains. So I’d say a possibility… but no certainty.

roshgosh January 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm

It’s disappointing that someone like Thomas Voeckler who spent so many days in the maillot jaune last year won’t be riding the TdF this year.

The Inner Ring January 12, 2012 at 9:54 pm

roshgosh: yes he will! 18 teams get automatic invites but ASO get to pick four more teams to make up the 22 teams and you can bet big Europcar will ride.

bikecellar January 12, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Thank you, and as they say, and so it begins!

Ian January 12, 2012 at 10:11 pm

@vL – thanks, that tallies with me and what I was expecting. I’ve loved watching the HTC train so had a soft spot for them and also Garmin-Cervelo for reasons I can’t quite work out, then Euskaltel and Rabobank but then nationality comes in to play as you say so the Brit riders and team Sky have raised a lot of interest in the sport from those who have only previously had a passing interest. As a Welshman however it’s Geraint Thomas all the way for me.

Karl Jackson January 12, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Concerning Roger Hammond, I think Pave’s British Cyclocross National Championships Preview called out Roger at 47 years old, and and cyclingnews.com’s coverage of the results inclued a picture with a caption that it was his last cyclocross race. Maybe that means he has retired completely. I always liked riders like Roger who could ride a full road season then ride even part of a competitive cyclocross season. Hopefully we’ll see his name as a DS or maintaning some other connection to cycling.

Ausvelo January 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm

IR, if you are sitting on a rumour about the potential GE sponsor, please share! It will be super news for Australian cycling and I’ll support whatever company backs us.

TheSkullKrusher January 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Guido Bontempi, Rik Verbrugghe, Fabio Baldato, Maximilian Sciandri, Daniele Nardello, Mario Aerts, Nico Verhoeven, Servais Knaven, Tristan Hoffman… all DS’s. God, I’m old!

Rider Council January 13, 2012 at 1:58 am

you are ‘getting’ old @ theSkullKrusher but not there yet. by the way what’s the deal? badges? et?

TotheBillyoh January 13, 2012 at 2:19 am

I try not to overdo it for Aussies, as a major part of cycling’s appeal to me is it’s internationalism. For example I am more impressed with Cadel’s win at his age than the accident of his birth in Australia. However (and this will have me thrown out of Australia) I cheer the Kiwi’s bigtime. (In truth I cheer all riders who come from countries where cycling is small beer through population size, cultural reasons or whatever.) With Julian Dean (NZL), Fumiyuki Beppu (JPN) and Daniel Teklehaymanot (ERI) on GreenEdge I get the best of both worlds.

Angelo senza la o January 13, 2012 at 5:40 am

These “staff”(s) can be very large when they are all totaled, example: Lampre has 32 for a 30 rider team:
http://italiancyclingjournal.blogspot.com/2011/11/team-behind-team.html

gadi January 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Dear Inner ring,
Well, finally (thanx to you), after adding the calender, and now the teams,
I’m ready for the upcoming season – what a useful information! .
Many tanx
Gadi

Starlights January 16, 2012 at 6:41 am

“the team exists to provide glory to the oil-rich totalitarian dictatorship of Kazakhstan ” – are you joking? Strange to hear opinions like that from persons who never was in Kazakhstan.

The Inner Ring January 16, 2012 at 7:37 am

Starlights: sorry if any offence was caused, perhaps I typed too quick. The team does exist to promote the country, no? On democracy, it is still a one-sided story as the recent results show but as many reports suggest, it is becoming more open and prosperous. The country is also rich in gas and minerals too.

Starlights January 17, 2012 at 7:03 am

Hi Inrng, with respect to you, but, are you agree that “not complete democracy” and “totalitarian dictatorship” is very different? )) I agree with you that my country only on the way to build democratic socium, but I can’t hear that Kazakhstan is totalitarian and I can’t see there dictatorship. Thank you!

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