Yesterday we brought you Kitty, Sheree and Ant’s end-of-season updates on Argos-Shimano, Astana and Omega Pharma-Quick-Step. Today it’s the turn of Garmin-Sharp, Movistar and Vacansoleil-DCM – the teams followed by Panache, Jack and Tim.
- Tour of Utah: Tom Danielson 1st overall, one 2nd and one 3rd place. Lachlan Morton won one stage.
- Tour of Alberta: Rohan Dennis 1st overall and won one stage.
- Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec: Fabian Wegmann 4th.
- Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal: Ryder Hesjedal 3rd.
- Vuelta a Espana: Tyler Farrar one 2nd place.
- Il Lombardia: Dan Martin 4th.
- Tour de l’Eurometropole: Tyler Farrar won one stage.
- Tour of Beijing: Dan Martin 2nd overall, one 2nd place.
Although it was rough for Garmin in the grand tours, they still had a great season winning one of the five monuments in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and a slew of other notable races. The stand-out was Dan Martin, who showed consistency all year long as demonstrated by his spring victories in Catalunya and Liege, a win at the Tour de France in July, and then his fourth place at Il Lombardia and second overall in Beijing.
Many of Garmin’s young riders began to shine in the late season. Crazy-haired Lachlan Morton won a stage and held the leader’s jersey at the Tour of Utah before handing it over to veteran teammate Tom Danielson. Rohan Dennis also showed that he has arrived by nabbing a stage in Alberta and winning the race overall.
For 2014 the team is making some major changes. With the retirements of veteran riders such as Christian Vande Velde, David Zabriskie and Robbie Hunter there is now room for a crop of new riders such as Phil Gaimon, Janier Acevedo, George Bennett and Ben King. Also coming over is 2013 Tour Down Under winner Tom Jelte Slagter, after a reportedly controversial separation from Belkin.
David Millar made news as he announced that 2014 will be his last year as a professional. And finally, Ryder Hesjedal has recently returned to the headlines as former Danish pro Michael Rasmussen has alleged that the 2012 Giro d’Italia champion took advice from him as regards the taking of banned substances back in 2003. We shall see how that pans out.
WorldTour ranking: 1st, 1,610 pts.
- Tour du Limousin: Enrique Sanz one 2nd place, Angel Madrazo one 3rd place.
- Vuelta a España: Alejandro Valverde 3rd overall, two 2nd places, two 3rd, two 5th. Jose Herrada one 5th place. 5th in team time trial.
- Vattenfall Cyclassics: Jose Joaquin Rojas 4th.
- Tour du Poitou Charentes: Jesus Herrada Lopez 2nd overall, won one stage.
- Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec: Rui Costa 5th.
- Tour of Britain: Alex Dowsett one 5th place, Jose Joaquin Rojas one 5th. Angel Madrazo won sprint and mountains classifications.
- World Championships road race: Rui Costa 1st, Alejandro Valverde 3rd.
- Giro di Lombardia: Alejandro Valverde 2nd.
- Tour of Beijing: Benat Intxausti 1st overall, won one stage. Rui Costa 4th overall, one 4th place.
Movistar have arguably been the most consistently impressive team in cycling this season, barely slowing as the curtain fell on their 2013 campaign. The evergreen Alejandro Valverde continued his form from the Tour de France by recording his fifth career grand tour podium at the Vuelta, finishing consistently on pretty much every stage and winding up third overall.
A quiet spell followed, though the Spanish outfit showed well at the Tour of Britain with home hero Alex Dowsett and JJ Rojas picking up a couple of fifth places between them. However, it was the ever-aggressive Nairo Quintana and eternal escapee Angel Madrazo who really livened up the week-long race, with the latter winding up with the sprint and mountains classifications for his mammoth efforts.
Their most significant result of the latter part of the season amusingly came when their riders weren’t wearing the Movistar blue at all, and were instead sporting their respective national jerseys. Rui Costa followed up his fifth place in Québec by winning the World Championships, while Mr Consistent Valverde became the first rider in cycling history to finish on the Worlds’ podium five times – though he’s yet to wear the rainbow stripes himself.
Rui Costa’s rainbow success must have had a slightly hollow feeling for his team, as the Portuguese puncheur‘s appearance at the Tour of Beijing was the first and last time he’ll wear a Movistar jersey emblazoned with the famous stripes – he’s agreed a move to Lampre next season. Fortunately Benat Intxausti offered up just the fix for any lingering regret, by taking a stage and the general classification on the last race on the WorldTour calendar.
So, Movistar have undeniably had a great season. The question now is: can they improve on it in 2014? It’ll certainly be difficult – not least having lost Costa. However, climbing starlet Quintana (who’ll have the support of his little brother Dayer in 2014) is only going to get better, and may well be the only serious challenger to Chris Froome for mountain supremacy. Having been made to settle for a couple of grand tour podium places this season, winning one is surely the next step to be taken – and I wouldn’t bet against them achieving it.
WorldTour ranking: 19th, 125 pts.
- Vattenfall Cyclassics: Boy van Poppel 6th.
- Vuelta a Espana: Juan Antonio Flecha two 5th places.
- Druivenkoers-Overijse: Bjorn Leukemans 1st.
The final months of Vacansoleil-DCM’s life as a WorldTour team passed with barely a whimper. There was no shortage of effort but results, which had proven elusive all year, almost completely dried up. Only one of the team’s ten 2013 victories came since our last update in mid-August – and even that, courtesy of Bjorn Leukemans, was in a lowly 1.1 category race.
The team finished with just one victory in a WorldTour event: Thomas de Gendt‘s stage win at the Volta a Catalunya way back in March. They added just 12 WorldTour points over the last two months of the season, courtesy of Boy van Poppel‘s sixth place at the Vattenfall Cyclassics and a pair of fifth-place finishes by Juan Antonio Flecha at the Vuelta. And that was all she wrote. Their final total of 125 points was barely a third that of the next-worst team, Lotto-Belisol.
Many of the team’s top riders have now found spots for 2014, although often at a cost. De Gendt’s one-year deal at OPQS required him to take a 80% pay cut, while others such as Dutch national champion Johnny Hoogerland have had to drop down to Pro Continental level. Flecha opted to retire – at least a year earlier than he would have liked – talking of buying a one-way ticket to Hawaii and enjoying the sand and surf.
The swashbuckling Flecha in particular will be missed, as will a team which, though underfunded and short on big-name talent to guarantee results and sponsorship, could always be trusted upon to animate any race they were in. We’ll miss the regular sight of Vacansoleil jerseys getting into the day’s breakaway, particularly at the grand tours and the classics. Adieu.