Team Barloworld Continues to Develop
Team Barloworld is ready to take on new challenges in 2009 as the team continues to grow and develop thanks to the support of its South African sponsor. According to a team spokesman, team manager Claudio Corti has created a successful team in just three years based on the ideals of professionalism, excellent organization and results, and intends to continue the development by focusing on the talented young riders in the team.
The British-registered team will again ride Bianchi bikes, with 16 riders in the 2009 line-up. “In the last two years we’ve achieved excellent results that could have justified us continuing the same strategy but we feel it’s the right moment to make a change in direction” Corti said. “Knowing we have extremely talented young riders in the team, we’ve decided to give them a chance to show what they can do. In the past we’ve proved we can help riders rebuild their careers but now we’re going to focus our development skills and management experience to help our young riders emerge and be successful.”
The only new rider with Team Barloworld in 2009 will be Italian Michele Merlo. The 24 year-old sprinter won ten races in 2008 and will join the pack of talented young riders in the team that also includes John Lee Augustyn, Chris Froome, Daryl Impey and Geraint Thomas. “Thomas deserves a special mention following his gold medal success with the Great Britain team pursuit squad on the track at the Beijing Olympics. He will now focus on the road and we’re convinced he can do well. He’s an excellent team player and of a course a very good time trialist.” Corti explained.
Mauricio Soler and Robert Hunter remain as the experienced team captains at Team Barloworld in 2009 after an unfortunate 2008 season. Most of Soler’s year was affected by crashes but after making a full recovery, he is determined to show he is one of the best climbers in the world, as he proved in 2007 by winning a stage and the climber’s jersey in the Tour de France. Britain’s Stephen Cummings will be another key rider after his strong riding in 2008, and the same can be said for Patrick Calcagni, Gianpaolo Cheula and Francesco Bellotti, who will return from a string of injuries.
Felix Cardenas will again use his experience for the good of the team, as will Paolo Longo Borghini, Marco Corti, Diego Caccia and Carlo Scognamiglio. With their determination, enthusiasm and tenacity, they will continue to give Team Barloworld the same spirit that has lead to so much success in the last two years.
All the riders will again have the excellent support and professionalism of directeur sportives Alberto Volpi and Valerio Tebaldi. Team Manager Claudio Corti has planned the rider’s medical check-ups for the second week in December at the ‘Nuova Dimensione Sport’ clinic directed by team doctor Massimiliano Mantovani, while the team’s training camp will be held in the third week of January. Before then the technical staff will work intensely on team’s 2009 racing programme.