Team updates: Garmin-Sharp, Movistar and Vacansoleil-DCM

Yesterday we brought you Kitty, Sheree and Ant’s updates on Argos-Shimano, Astana and Omega Pharma-Quick-Step. Today it’s the turn of Garmin-Sharp, Movistar and Vacansoleil-DCM – all of whom recorded notable wins over the weekend – courtesy of Panache, Jack and Tim.

Garmin-Sharp (Panache)

Garmin-Sharp 2013WorldTour ranking: 9th, 762 pts.

Major results:

  • Liege-Bastogne-Liege: Dan Martin 1st.
  • Tour de Romandie: Ramunas Navardauskas won one stage.
  • Four Days of Dunkirk: Michel Kreder won one stage.
  • Giro d’Italia: Ramunas Navardauskas won one stage.
  • Tour of California: Tyler Farrar won one stage.
  • Bayern-Rundfahrt: Alex Rasmussen won one stage.
  • Tour de France: Dan Martin won one stage.
  • Tour of Utah: Tom Danielson 1st overall, one 2nd and one 3rd place. Lachlan Morton won one stage.

Garmin currently sit in the middle of the WorldTour rankings but that doesn’t mean they haven’t had some outstanding results. The Argyle Armada ended the Ardennes classics with a brilliant win as Irishman Dan Martin outkicked both Joaquim Rodriguez and a Panda Bear to win La Doyenne. It was a fantastic display of team work as Martin counter-attacked after the remnants of the peloton were forced to chase down a solo attack by Ryder Hesjedal.

The team’s main goal of 2013 was to defend Hesjedal’s 2012 Giro d’Italia victory but it wasn’t meant to be when illness forced him to abandon after stage 12. Recognising that GC glory was out of reach, the team went stage hunting and was successful on stage 11 when Ramunus Navardauskas won solo into Vajont.

Unfortunately, Ryder’s bad luck continued into the Tour de France as he crashed and broke a rib on stage one. That injury and lack of proper build-up following the Giro forced Garmin to go stage hunting again. Of course it was Dan Martin who delivered on stage nine in a two-up sprint against Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang. Dan will be the team’s GC leader in the Vuelta later this month and will likely lead Garmin for some time to come.

While the likes of Christian Vande Velde are nearing the end of their careers, many of Garmin’s youngsters are showing that the team will be strong in the future. Andrew Talansky was the highest finishing American in the Tour de France, just edging into the top ten. Rohan Dennis had a fantastic Dauphine, wearing the leader’s jersey for a time and winning the best young rider classification. Finally, the Tour of Utah reaped rich rewards for both 21-year-old Lachlan Morton, who won stage three, and the more experienced Tom Danielson, whose pair of top-three places on the last two stages secured overall victory.

Garmin have also just signed Tour Down Under winner Tom-Jelte Slagter for 2014. Jonathan Vaughters has shown a knack for developing young riders and getting unexpected results. Thus far 2013 has shown that the investment in younger talent at Garmin is beginning to pay dividends.

Website: http://www.slipstreamsports.com

Twitter: @ride_argyle

Movistar (Jack)

Stampa

WorldTour ranking: 2nd, 1,115 pts.

Major results:

  • Vuelta a Castilla y Leon: Ruben Plaza 1st overall, won one stage.
  • Vuelta a la Comunidad de Madrid: Javi Moreno 1st.
  • Giro d’Italia: Benat Intxausti 8th overall, won one stage and held maglia rosa for one stage. Giovanni Visconti won two stages. Alex Dowsett won one stage.
  • Vuelta Asturias Julio Alvarez Mendo:  Javi Moreno 3rd overall, won one stage.
  • Tour de Suisse: Rui Costa 1st overall, won two stages.
  • National Championship time trials: Alex Dowsett, Great Britain, 1st. Jonathan Castroviejo, Spain, 1st. Rui Costa, Portugal, 1st.
  • National Championships road race: Jesus Herrada Lopez, Spain, 1st.
  • Tour de France: Nairo Quintana 2nd overall, won one stage. Rui Costa won two stages.
  • Vuelta a Burgos: Nairo Quintana 1st overall, won one stage.

Movistar don’t want the summer to end, having enjoyed a huge amount of success since our last update. After Ruben Plaza and Javi Moreno took two wins in Spain, Movistar lit up the first of the year’s grand tours, the Giro. Benat Intxausti was the star of the show, holding the famous maglia rosa for a stage before winning the hilly stage 16, though he wasn’t the sole stand-out performer from the Spanish outfit. Alex Dowsett underlined his time-trialling abilities by winning stage eight against the clock, and former Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti excelled on home turf, taking two stage wins.

Javi Moreno enjoyed more success in Spain before Movistar headed for Switzerland, with Rui Costa looking to defend his title at the Tour de Suisse. He did so, in dominant fashion. The Portuguese rider took two stages – including a mountainous time trial – on his way to winning the race for a second consecutive year. It was the start of an incredibly fruitful spell for Costa, who continued his hot streak by earning the national time trial stripes at the Portuguese National Championships. Meanwhile, Dowsett won the time trial at the British National Championships and Jonathan Castroviejo repeated the feat in Spain – before Jesus Herrada Lopez sprung a surprise to win the road race.

Great success was still to come. Though they didn’t win the team prize, Movistar were arguably the most impressive outfit at this year’s Tour de France. Bringing their strongest team in support of Alejandro Valverde, few expected them to be overly successful – especially after Valverde suffered a puncture in stage 13’s crosswinds and lost nearly ten minutes. However Rui Costa took two stage wins in four days after attacking out of breakaways, and Nairo Quintana didn’t waste his chance after taking over leadership from Valverde. The Colombian was the only rider capable of staying with Chris Froome on the climbs, and, after some excellent work by his teammates (including Valverde), he took the final mountainous stage at Le Semnoz. It meant he swept up the mountain and best young rider classificiations, and finished second overall.

It was the icing on a delicious cake for Movistar, who are undoubtedly now one of cycling’s powerhouses.

Website: http://www.movistarteam.com

Twitter: @Movistar_Team

Vacansoleil-DCM (Tim)

Vacansoleil-DCM 2013

WorldTour ranking: 19th, 113 pts.

Major results:

  • Tour de Romandie: Lieuwe Westra 4th in one stage.
  • Four Days of Dunkirk: Kenny van Hummel: one 2nd, one 3rd, one 4th and one 5th place.
  • Giro d’Italia: no top-five placing on any stage, no rider in top-10 of any classification.
  • Tour of California: Lieuwe Westra won one stage.
  • Ster ZLM Toer: Pim Ligthart won one stage. Maurits Lammertink 5th overall, one 3rd place.
  • Tour de Luxembourg: Marco Marcato 6th overall. Danny van Poppel one 2nd place.
  • National Championship time trials: Lieuwe Westra, Netherlands, 1st.  Jose Rujano. Venezuela, 1st.
  • National Championships road race: Johnny Hoogerland. Netherlands 1st.
  • Tour de France: Danny van Poppel one 3rd place. Thomas de Gendt one 3rd place.
  • Tour de Pologne: Grega Bole one 5th place.
  • Arctic Race of Norway: Kenny van Hummel won one stage, one 2nd place, Barry Markus one 2nd and one 3rd place.
  • Tour de l’Ain: Grega Bole won one stage. Wout Poels won one stage, Romain Feillu one 3rd place.

Don’t be deceived by the reasonably lengthy list of results above – it has been a miserable middle portion of the season for Vacansoleil. Look more closely and you will see a succession of minor results which have created barely a ripple in the big pool of pro cycling. Collectively the team has added eight wins to Thomas De Gendt‘s earlier stage victory in the Volta a Catalunya – not bad on the face of it. But crucially none of these have come in WorldTour races, with only five in international events. Lieuwe Westra and Pim Ligthart won stages at the Tour of California and the Ster ZLM Toer, while in the last week Kenny van Hummel took stage one of the Arctic Race of Norway and Grega Bole and Wout Poels both won at the Tour de l’Ain. In addition, Jose Rujano is the new Venezuelan time trial champion, while Westra (time trial) and Johnny Hoogerland (road race) swept the Dutch titles.

Only four riders have scored points in WorldTour races, the life-blood of a top-division team: Danny van Poppel, the youngest starter at the Tour de France since World War II, was third on the opening stage, while De Gendt added third in the first individual time trial. A brace of fifth places on stages of the Tour de Romandie (Westra) and Tour de Pologne (Grega Bole) added a single point apiece. And it’s probably best not to mention the Giro at all, where they failed to score a single top-five finish.

The vagaries of the WorldTour rankings (where only the top five points-scoring riders count) means the team has combined for a mere seven points over the past four months. Consequently they are languishing at the bottom of the rankings – all but three other teams have at least double their 113 points. The simple fact is that the team’s bigger guns – De Gendt, Westra, Juan Antonio Flecha, Bjorn Leukemans and Wout Poels – have consistently misfired since the end of classics season.

With results lacking and both title sponsors withdrawing at the end of this season, the team’s future looks less than rosy. Relegation – whether voluntary or otherwise – to Pro Continental level looks a virtual certainty unless a new owner buys out their ProTeam licence. Riders have already started to move on – Lieuwe Westra and Kris Boeckmans signing for Astana and Lotto-Belisol respectively – as they attempt to balance their books. The curtain is falling, and the team is sadly going out with barely a whimper.

Previous update: 15th April.

Website: http://www.vacansoleildcm.co.uk

Twitter: @VacansoleilDCM

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