The Cannondale Pro Cycling team was officially launched in a lavish award style ceremony event at Paramount Studios in California at the weekend. With the riders rocking up in stretched Hummers and matching tuxedos, the new-look team announced it was showtime.
Behind the restyled lime green kit, the squad still looks similar to Liquigas, with Italian favourite Ivan Basso and Slovak Peter Sagan, who's film-based finish line celebrations at the 2012 Tour de France inspired the launch.
The location also served to highlight the team's new title sponsor, Cannondale, and its North American roots.
The change in team ownership to Canadian-American Cannondale had initially sparked speculation that Cannondale Pro Cycling would become a 'Team America', akin to Australia's Green Edge or the UK's Sky, however the team continues to be registered in Italy and still contains predominantly Italian riders.
The 28-man squad is led by veteran Basso who, after Vincenzo Nibali leaving for Astana, will be the team's sole Grand Tour GC contender, specifically targeting the Giro and Vuelta. But the team is likely to put much of its focus on sprinter Peter Sagan, who confirmed his desire to win the Tour of Flanders along with defending his Tour de France Green Jersey.
With the rest of the team born in the 80's and 90's its a young squad, whose aim, like the promo films, is to put a bit of flair into the pro peloton this year.
The launch also unveiled Sugoi as the team kit sponsor and that the team will be riding on Vison Metron wheels, a departure from Liquigas-Cannodale's previous Mavic partnership. The team has as expected stuck with the same Cannondale SuperSix Evo and Slice RS bikes, albeit with a fresh paint job. The latter getting a slight makeover to lose 300 grams off the overall weight.
Cannondale Pro Cycling kick of their 2013 campaign proper with the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, on January 21, with the first key targets for the season being Paris-Nice, with Basso and Elia Viviani, and Tirreno-Adriatico for Sagan and Moreno Moser.
Man of few words. Peter Sagan takes to the stage in Paramount studios
Cyclists always look a little uncomfortable when they're not in their lycra
The lime green is here to stay
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