What a pity; if Cervélo already existed as a team, and if Roger Hammond were already racing with them, then on Monday he would have given the bike manufacturers a great opportunity to test their machines under water.

?It was raining so hard when I was out training yesterday that I went through a puddle so deep it went over the top of my front wheel?, Hammond told Cycling Weekly. ?Fortunately I was so wet already it didn?t matter,? he adds as an afterthought.

As a hardened Classics warrior, Hammond is used to this sort of weather, if not that size, or depth of puddles. But even though he?s been riding as a pro since 1998, and Cervélo is his fourth squad, 2009 will be a new scenario for the British pro.

Like three other Britons – Jeremy Hunt, Dan Lloyd and Dan Fleeman – next season he?ll be riding for a team which is built specifically to test bike frames in different conditions. The cobbled Classics, Hammonds speciality, will be one way of testing the bikes to the limit.

?I?ve never been able to understand why bike manufacturers don?t use professional bike racers more as sources of information.

?We?ve got a whole store of experience which can be really useful. They?ve gone as far as they could do sponsoring CSC and now they want to do their own thing. So it?s going to be very interesting working with them.?

Hammond has signed a two-year deal, something unusual for the Briton who normally prefers one-year contracts, but which he calls; ?a nice vote of confidence on their part.

?They started talking to me quite early in the season. I think they want to make a big impact in the English-speaking market. And it just sort of rolled from there.?

Hammond doesn?t have anything against his current team, Columbia, it?s just he feels motivated to move on, and try a new squad.

?It’ll be a different structure in Cervélo, that’s for sure. It?s like I?ve always said, you don?t win the Classics just by having one individual leader. It?s always a question of riding for the strongest man on the day.”

He?s looking forward to working and racing with the three Britons, the most he?s ever had as team-mates: ?Mark [Cavendish] and me and Bradley [Wiggins] were all on Columbia, but we didn?t see much of Bradley.?

?I haven?t raced with Dan Fleeman or Dan Lloyd before, but I know they?re really nice guys. For them, racing with Cervélo a big step up.?

The get-together at the end of November will be where Hammond gets his 2009 road-race programme. Whilst the cobbled Classics are definitely on there, the Tour of California definitely won?t be. Beyond that, Hammond?s content to wait and see.

?I don?t know when or where the main training camp is yet, either, but I?m not too worried about it, to be honest. What matters is that I?m on track and going ok.? A few dips on the road, water-filled or not, certainly won?t be stopping him.

RELATED LINKS

Hammond and Fleeman officially join Cervelo

Cervelo confirm Lloyd Hunt and Fleeman for 2009 team

Tour winner Sastre signs for Cervelo

Sunderland leaves Cervelo test team

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