With four new riders added and Luca Guercilena taking over as general manager, some changes took place, but for the most part, it’s business as usual for the hard working group at RSLT.
“We’ve put in the time and effort during the off season to come together as a team,” said General Manager Guercilena. “This was important to us as we look to return our riders to their highest level of abilities in 2013. We met with the riders and discussed their ambitions and goals, merged them with those of the overall team, and have established our race calendar for the year.”
First up will be the Santos Tour Down Under, taking place in Adelaide, Australia January 20 to 27. After a difficult year, Andy Schleck has trained well in the winter and looks to make his racing debut Down Under. “I want to get in as much racing as possible this year,” said Schleck, hoping to make up for missed time in 2012 after a crash ended his season with a broken pelvis. Schleck will also participate in the Ardennes races in the spring before focusing on the Tour de France in July. With a shorter number of time trial kilometers in the 100th edition of the race, Schleck sees the chance for a climber like himself to raise the level of competition and looks forward to riding in France. “I don’t know if I can return to the form I saw in 2011, but I’m only 27 and I will do my best to get back to that place. I think I still have many opportunities to win.”
Also looking forward to a return to winning ways is Fabian Cancellara. A crash kept the Swiss champion from participating in his beloved Paris-Roubaix in 2012, making the goal to win a third Roubaix all the more tantalizing for Fabian. “I can’t wait to be back there in the heat of battle once again,” said Cancellara. “I’ve worked so hard during my winter training and I’m certain that with some luck I can get back into the best possible race rhythm.” The cobbled classics will figure prominently on the calendar in the spring for RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK and those with ambitions to do well on the cobblestones will certainly have opportunities to shine in the team colors.
Stage races will make up part of the team goals too, with Andy Schleck, Chris Horner, Andreas Klöden and Robert Kišerlovski teaming up with others to contest the multi-day races that help prepare them for the three Grand Tours on the calendar. May’s Amgen Tour of California will be a top priority for the American sponsors and past winner Horner hopes to deliver a top podium place again in 2013. Other important stage races will be the Tour of the Basque Country, Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse, with a wide variety of riders stepping into key positions for these races.
“It will be a pleasure to help these riders achieve their goals as we strive to succeed as a team,” concluded Luca. “We have started the season well, with Hayden Roulston becoming the new Road Champion of New Zealand. We hope there are many more victories to come.”