The Russian WorldTour team Katusha presented its squad for the 2014 season yesterday in Koblenz. The location of the presentation was carefully chosen. In the halls of the bicycle manufacturer Canyon, which supports the team as an outfitter, the five-year anniversary of the Russian Global Cycling Projects celebrated.
The presentation began with a review. The guests and fans present were not only familiarized with the image of the team via video, but also got an impression of the most important moments of 2013.
After the video presentation, the President of the Russian Cycling Union and operator of the Katusha team, Igor Makarov, was the first to speak. "The team has developed into one of the most important in professional cycling in recent years", according to Makarov, who later added: “With this team we managed to make a driver the number one in the world. And that several times.” He meant the Spaniard Joaquin Rodriguez.
The winner of the WorldTour standings also played an important role in the considerations of Canyon boss Roman Arnold. “It was bitter that he so narrowly missed out on winning the World Cup last year. The fact that he was number one in the world again afterwards shows his character and also explains our motivation: Pure Cycling.” Arnold was not only alluding to Rodriguez, but also to the Movistar team, which has also been on the road from Koblenz since this year. When asked to what extent this commitment complemented each other, he said: “With our brand, we are one of the leaders in Europe. For me personally, being involved in cycling also has something to do with my passion for the sport. That’s why we support both teams.”
However, Movistar played no further role as the evening progressed. Rather, each driver of the Katusha team received a personal introduction. Starting with drivers like the Latvian Gatis Smukulis, the German Rüdiger Selig, the Austrian Marco Haller, the Italian Luca Paolini, Alexander Kristoff from Norway and Rodriguez. The latter emphasized several times how comfortable he felt in the team and that he was looking forward to the next two years in the red and white outfit.
The goals of the team are clearly outlined. In addition to some classics such as the Fleché Wallone and the Tour of Lombardy, Rodriguez will mainly concentrate on the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta. The classic group around the experienced Paolini will mark the one-day races in the calendar.
The top priority is to defend Rodriguez's top position in the WorldTour. "Back to Number One" was the mission last year that the little Spaniard vehemently pursued with the team and outfitter Canyon and fulfilled 100 percent. After his success in 2012, the wiry Catalan proved his superiority in the most important races of the WorldTour in 2013 and after an exciting season he again secured the top position by winning the Tour of Lombardy. Buoyed by the success and team spirit of recent years, completing the treble is high on the list for 2014.
// The 2014 squad
Maxim Belkov, Pavel Brutt, Giampaolo Caruso, Sergei Chernetckii, Vladimir Gusev, Marco Haller, Petr Ignatenko, Mikhail Ignatyev, Vladimir Isaychev, Pavel Kochetkov, Alexander Kolobnev, Dmitriy Kozonchuk, Alexander Kristoff, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Viacheslav Kuznetsov, Alberto Losada, Daniel Moreno , Luca Paolini, Aleksandr Porsev, Joaquim Rodriguez, Alexander Rybakov, Rüdiger Selig, Egor Silin, Gatis Smukulis, Simon Spilak, Iurii Trofimov, Aleksey Tsatevich, Angel Vicioso, Eduard Vorganov, Anton Vorobyev