Team updates: BMC, Euskaltel-Euskadi, FDJ-BigMat and Orica-GreenEDGE

At the beginning of the season, each member of the VeloVoices team selected one ProTeam to follow for the duration of 2012. Here’s our year-end update on how each squad fared over the closing months of the season.


WorldTour ranking: 7th, 917 points.

Major results:

  • Road World Championships: Philippe Gilbert 1st – Road Race; Taylor Phinney 2nd, Tejay van Garderen 4th – Individual Time Trial; second in Team Time Trial
  • Vuelta a Espana: Philippe Gilbert – 1st, Stages 9 & 19; Steve Cummings – 1st Stage 13
  • USA Pro Challenge: Tejay van Garderen, 2nd in GC, plus 1st Stage 2, 3rd Stage 4, 3rd Stage 7; Taylor Phinney – 2nd, Stage 5, 1st Stage 7.
  • Tour of Utah: Johann Tschopp – 1st in GC, plus 1st Stage 5; Michael Schar – 2nd, Stage 3; Brent Bookwalter – 3rd, Stage 3.
  • Eneco Tour: Taylor Phinney – 3rd stage 1, 2nd stage 6; Alessandro Ballan – 1st Stage 7
  • GP Wallonie and GP Cycliste de Quebec: Greg van Avermaet – 2nd GC
  • Binche-Tournai-Binche: Adam Blythe – 1st in GC
  • Tour of Beijing: Steve Cummings – 1st Stage 5
  • Chrono des Nations: Taylor Phinney – 3rd

Well, from an early season of not really meeting expectations that many had for this superteam, the last part of the team’s season saw the young guns of Taylor Phinney, Adam Blythe, Steve Cummings and Greg van Avermaet storming through their races, placing high in most of them.

But of course, the team scored biggest in the World Championships with Philippe Gilbert, finally returning to form in the Vuelta after a disappointing season, taking the rainbow jersey in the road race. Taylor Phinney has been going from strength to strength all season and earned a silver in the individual team time trial, narrowly missing the TT rainbow jersey by 5sec, and the team came 2nd in the team time trial.

Cadel Evans ends the season as the highest ranking rider in the team, at 24. George Hincapie retired this year, just after the Tour de France and before the publication of the USADA’s reasoned decision, which contained testimony from Hincapie on his use of performance-enhancing drugs during his time as teammate to Lance Armstrong.

And Tejay van Garderen – best young rider jersey in this year’s Tour de France – has extended his contract with BMC. DS John Lelangue had this to say about the up and coming rider:

“He was very regular for us all year – very good in time trials and climbing and someone who could also find his place in the peloton. So he has all the qualities to become a big tour winner in the future. That’s important for us. We’re already building a team around him.”

Next year, the team will again be under scrutiny, with the World Champion looking to dominate in the spring as he did last year and everyone looking for the return of Thor Hushovd and Cadel Evans to good form. Add to that, the young riders mentioned above hoping to ride to their potential – with Phinney targetting Paris-Roubaix – it should be an exciting year for BMC in 2013.


WorldTour ranking: 13th, 555 points.

Major results:

  • Clasica san Sebastian: Igor Anton – 11th.
  • Vuelta a Espana: Igor Anton – 9th overall, 7th on stages 12 & 14. Romain Sicard – 5th on stage 20. Ruben Perez – 2nd on stage 15. Gorka Vedugo – 12th on stage 12. Second overall in team  competition.
  • Tour of Britain: Pablo Urtasun – won stage 7. Samuel Sanchez – 14th overall, 4th on stage 7.
  • Road World Championships: 16th in team time trial.
  • Gran Piemonte: Gorka Verdugo – 3rd.
  • Il Lombardia: Samuel Sanchez – 2nd.
  • Tour of Beijing: Ivan Velasco – 11th overall. Samuel Sanchez – 12th overall.
  • Tour de Vendee: Ricardo Garcia – 16th. Romain Sicard – 18th.

The good news about the team having secured additional funding for the next four years has been tempered by the disappointing results and the untimely death of one of their young promising riders, Victor Cabedo, while out training. It will have been particularly painful for the team not to have secured even a stage win in their home Tour, the Vuelta, which spent a significant amount of time in the Basque country.

As usual, Samu Sanchez was the team’s top rider in the rankings. After a stellar start to the year, a terribly unlucky crash-riddled mid-part, and a moderately satisfying conclusion, the 34-year old finishes up ninth overall with 332 points, more than half of the squad’s 2012 haul. Just nine of the team’s riders scored WorldTour points, although this was a better spread  than in previous years. The total points haul is better than last year’s and only 40 short of the 2010 mark – the year the team took a record 17 victories.

To be sure of getting a World Tour licence for 2013, the team have ended their stance of employing only riders who were either born or developed in the Basque country. Long-serving, faithful riders such as Amets Txurruka and Ivan Velasco have been let go. While Basques Jon Aberasturi and Garikoitz Bravo are joining as neo-pros, the team’s hunt for points and sprinter fire-power means they’ve hired an additional interesting mix of riders:

  • Tarik Chaoufi (26) Moroccan – National team
  • Jure Kocjan (28) Slovenian – Team Type 1
  • Juan Jose Lobato (24) Spanish – Andalucia
  • Ricardo Mestre (29) Portuese – Carmim-Prio
  • Steffen Radochla (34) German – Team NSP-Ghost
  • Andre Schulze (38) German –  Team NetApp
  • Alexander Serebryakov (25) Russian –  Team Type 1
  • Ioannis Tamouridis (32) Greek –  SP Tableware
  • Robert Vrecer (32) Slovenian – Vorarlberg

According to General Manager Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano at a recent press conference where the new riders were unveiled:

The objective with signing these foreigners is based on a strategic commitment to make Euskaltel-Euskadi stronger and more complete. They’re riders with UCI points, but they complement the other riders on the team. The signings will bring quality to some of our weaknesses: Classics and sprint finishes. The Classics are getting more important on the world calendar – and they’re races we haven’t been able to get good results in. As such, we’re missing out on a lot of big races and a lot of points. This is what we want to change in 2013.

Reality has forced us to sign riders who complement and strengthen the current roster in certain sections. Still, we’ve got 20 Basques against the 23 this year. We have more Basque cyclists in the team than in all other WorldTour teams combined. And we’d like to increase the number of Basques in the future. But if that is to happen, we need a team that wins more. These signings will make us more competitive. Cycling continues to evolve, and we must aspire to stay at the elite level.


WorldTour ranking: 18th, 246 points.

Major results:

  • Tour du Limousin: Jeremy Roy – won stage 4.
  • Vattenfall Cyclassics: Arnaud Demare – 1st.
  • Tour de l’Eurometropole: Nacer Bouhanni – won stage 4.

As the season has drawn to a close FDJ’s results on the bike have slowed too, with young French national champion Nacer Bouhanni unable to repeat his heroics of the early season with any real showing at the Vuelta a España, though he did pick up a stage win at the Tour de l’Eurometropole (formerly known as the Circuit Franco-Belge). Arnaud Demare picked up a rather more prestigious win at the annual one-day Classic in Hamburg, the Vattenfall Cyclassics, while Jeremy Roy won a stage at the Tour du Limousin.

As is inevitable at this stage in the year the attention is now beginning to focus on next season, and the comings and goings of riders. Fortunately, despite being the lowest-ranked team in the UCI WorldTour ranking FDJ already hold a licence to race at the top level through 2013, so Marc Madiot does have one less thing to worry about, though making signings to bolster the outfit’s position come this time next season must be a top priority.

There have been six confirmed arrivals already, with the most notable being Brazilian Murilo Fischer, a rouleur-cum-lead-out man with a fast finish. He arrives from Garmin-Sharp and could prove to be a shrewd signing and a strong rider for the breakaways. Young French climber Alexandre Geniez arrives from Argos-Shimano after a quiet 2012, though a fourth place at last year’s Critérium International is hopefully a sign of his potential. 22-year-old Johan Le Bon looks even more exciting and joins from Bretagne-Schuller, having been twice the national TT champion of France at junior level and 2008 Junior Road World Champion. Cyclocross specialist Emilian Viennet is another unknown quantity, while Laurents Mangel and Pichon arrive with much-needed experience.

This experience is needed as much due to departures as the new arrivals. Belarusian sprinter Yauheni Hutarovich leaves after years of loyal service to join AG2R, with fellow veterans Gabriel Rasch, Remi Pauriol, Arnaud Gerard, Steve Chainel and Dominique Rollin also departing.


WorldTour team ranking: 6th, 920 points.

Major results:

  • Eneco Tour: Won stage 2 team time trial. Svein Tuft – 7th overall, won stage 6 ITT. Luke Durbridge – 5th overall. Sebastian Langeveld – 9th overall.
  • Clasica San Sebastian: Simon Gerrans – 2nd.
  • Poitou Charentes: Luke Durbridge – 1st overall, won stage 4 ITT. Aidis Kruopis – won stages 1 & 2.
  • GP Ouest France-Plouay: Matt Goss – 4th.
  • Vuelta a Espana: Simon Clarke – won stage 4. Allan Davis – 2nd in stage 2, 3rd in stages 7 & 18. Cameron Meyer – 2nd in stage 13.
  • GP Cycliste de Quebec: Simon Gerrans – 1st.
  • GP Cycliste de Montreal: Simon Gerrans – 4th.
  • Tour of Britain: Leigh Howard – 4th overall, won stage 2, 2nd in stages 3 & 4, 3rd in stage 4. Aidis Kruopis – 3rd in stage 3.
  • Road World Championships: 3rd in team time trial.

A successful run of late season results saw Orica-GreenEDGE finish their debut season an impressive sixth in the WorldTour team rankings, despite not possessing a serious Grand Tour GC rider. Ahead of the Vuelta, three top ten placings and two stage wins at the Eneco Tour netted over 100 points. And while the Spanish Armada ruled at the Vuelta, the team would have been pleased with Simon Clarke‘s maiden pro win and three top-three finishes in the sprints for Allan Davis behind the unbeatable John Degenkolb.

Elsewhere, Luke Durbridge and Leigh Howard registered wins at Poitou Charentes and the Tour of Britain respectively, and third in the trade team time trial at the World Championships netted a hefty 140 points, but it was Simon Gerrans – the Tour Down Under winner and early WorldTour leader – who tore through the closing two months of the season. The Aussie finished second behind Luis Leon Sanchez at San Sebastian, then was first and fourth at the Quebec/Montreal Canadian double-header – a run of results which netted an impressive 180 points.

Overall, the team won four of the 29 WorldTour events – second in number only to Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Sky – courtesy of Michael Albasini‘s Volta a Catalunya victory and Gerrans’ hat-trick of the Tour Down Under, Milan-San Remo and GP Quebec. Not bad for a rookie squad!

Previous updates: August 12thJune 24th, April 13thFebruary 24th,

Websites: BMC, Euskaltel-EuskadiFDJ, GreenEDGE

Twitter: BMC, Euskaltel-Euskadi, FDJGreenEDGE

Vuelta a España preview: Teams and sponsors (part 1)

The 67th edition of the Vuelta a España, the last of the year’s three Grand Tours, kicks off on Saturday 18th August with a team time trial in Pamplona, following the route used for the famous running of the bulls. There are 198 riders representing the 18 WorldTour teams and four wild-card Pro Continental teams set to take to the start line for 3,300km of riding, largely in Northern Spain, taking in 37 mountains.

Many fans will be familiar with the main riders in the peloton, but have you ever wondered about the mysterious sponsors whose names are plastered all over every available square inch of the riders and their equipment? If so, here’s the first of a two-part overview of the 22 teams, their title sponsors and main protagonists. While many of the peloton’s high-ranking riders have secured contracts for next season, there will also be large numbers counting on a good Vuelta performance to increase their chances of full-time employment next season.

All team line-ups are, of course, subject to change in the final few days before the race starts, but are accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing. Part two follows tomorrow.

AG2R La Mondiale

Sponsor: A French life insurance and pension provider.

Overview:  AG2R go into the tour with their usual multi-pronged attack comprising Nicolas Roche and John Gadret, both probably hoping for a top ten finish. They will be supported by Christophe Riblon and former maillot jaune wearer Rinaldo Nocentini. Given that Roche is off to pastures new (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) next season, it’ll be interesting to see whether he or Gadret gets better supported. They also have riders such as Maxime Bouet and Blel Kadri to grab valuable airtime in breakaways plus Lloyd Mondory and Sylvain Georges to mix it up in the sprints.


Sponsor: The Spanish region of the same name.

Overview:  As a wild-card selection, this team knows it’ll be expected to animate the race even though it’s not going anywhere near Andalucia. Regular Vuelta watchers will be familiar with the names of Adrian Palomares, Jesus Rosendo and Juan Jose Lobato, who tend to ply their trade on the more mountainous stages and may even make a bid for the King of the Mountains jersey in the early stages. They are unlikely to figure either in a stage win or the general classification.


Sponsor: An independent Dutch oil company and a Japanese manufacturer of bike parts and accessories.

Overview: After a disappointing Tour where all their eggs were in one basket, the team is hedging its bets in the Vuelta. They have sprinter John Degenkolb for the six flat stages, Simon Geschke for the 40km individual time trial and want-away Frenchman Alexandre Geniez for the general classification, solidly supported by the experienced Koen de Koert. Again, as a wild-card entry they’ll be looking to provide ample justification to the organisers for their selection and, with a nod to their Far Eastern sponsors, they’ve selected Ji Cheng and, possibly, Yukihiro Doi.


Sponsor: A Kazakh business consortium.

Overview: Astana will be looking to add to their promising 2012 and perhaps erase their poor performance in last year’s Vuelta where their highlight was a second place on the penultimate stage [allegedly fuelled by Sheree’s home-made banana and chocolate cakes – Ed]. To be fair Fredrik Kessiakoff had been lying fifth on GC before tummy troubles laid him low. After his joust for the King of the Mountains jersey in this year’s Tour, expect him to again challenge for the general classification. In support he’ll have Tour of Turkey runner-up Alexandr Dyachenko, Andrey Kashechkin, who was third in the 2006 Vuelta, and Amstel Gold winner Enrico Gasparotto.


Sponsor: A Swiss bicycle manufacturer.

Overview: Looking at the squad composition, I’d say BMC will be looking for stage wins and fine-tuning ahead of the World Championships in Valkenburg, to be held on essentially the Amstel Gold course. In particular, they’ll be hoping that Philippe Gilbert can rediscover his mojo. The team includes Brent Bookwalter, Alessandro Ballan and Amael Moinard, a top 20 finisher in the Vuelta. We could be wrong, but we’re saying just don’t expect too much from this team.

Caja Rural

Sponsor: A northern Spanish savings bank.

Overview: As another of the wild-card entries, Caja Rural appreciate that their role is to animate the race by getting into breaks and grabbing plenty of on-air exposure for their sponsor. However, they do have some experienced riders who’ll be looking to maybe win a stage or feature in the chase for KoM points. Look out for David de la Fuente, national Bulgarian champion Danail Petrov – third in the Tour of Turkey– ex-RadioShacker Manuel Cardoso, the Portuguese national champion and no relation to the other Cardoso on the team, Andre. [So, no cycling families story there, then – Ed.]

Cofidis – Le Credit en ligne

Sponsor: A French credit company.

Overview:The team will be mounting a stout defence of David Moncoutie‘s King of the Mountains jersey, which he’s won four times in succession. He’s hoping to win it for a record-breaking fifth time in what is highly likely to be his last year as a professional rider. Cofidis do business in Spain so expect Moncoutie’s teammates, such as job-hunting Mickael Buffaz and Luis Angel Mate, to be figuring in escapes and looking for opportunities to grab airtime for their sponsor. Leonardo Duque will be hoping to score points in the sprints.


Sponsors: A Basque telecoms provider and regional development agency.

Overview: They may have secured funding for the next three years but the team need to bag more UCI points to keep their place in the WorldTour. Euskaltel-Euskadi’s leader for the Vuelta will once again be Igor Anton who, with few time-trialling kilometres and plenty of mountain-top finishes, must surely believe that this time he’ll climb atop the podium, particularly given all the stages in his stomping grounds. He’ll be looking to replicate his 2010 form but, this time, avoid crashing out. He’ll start slightly on the back-foot after the team time trial, not one of the team’s competencies, but he’s got solid support around him including experienced hand Amets Txurruka and climbing sensation Mikel Landa. Typically we can expect to see those orange jerseys to the fore every time the road heads skywards and particularly where they’ll have their usual fanatical support.


Sponsors: The French national lottery and a chain of independent builders’ merchants.

Overview: Having missed the Tour due to health issues, Arnold Jeannesson, riding in his first Vuelta, will be looking to at least replicate his 2011 Tour position (14th) or top perhaps the recent Tour success of teammate Thibaut Pinot –  a stage win and top ten on GC. The team also includes the French national road race champion and one of their key sprinters, Nacer Bouhanni, who has a number of wins to his name this season. Plus there’s strong, experienced  support in the form of Remi Pauriol and William Bonnet.

Garmin-Sharp (formerly Garmin-Barracuda)

Sponsors: A US-based multinational manufacturer of GPS systems and a Japanese technology provider.

Overview: Christophe Le Mevel will be looking to secure his future with an improvement on his 2010 15th place but he may well have to play second fiddle to recent Tour de l’Ain winner Andrew Talansky. We can expect the team to perform well as usual in the opening team time trial. They’ve got sprinters Koldo Fernandez and Murilo Fischer while most of their other riders such as Johan Van Summeren are better suited to the Classics than the high mountains. It looks as if the team leader will have his work cut out.


Sponsor: A Russian business conglomerate.

Overview: Giro runner-up  Joaquim Rodriguez will be hoping he can make the step up on a course better suited to his capabilities: more steep inclines, less time-trialling. He’ll have his Vuelta a Burgos winning wingman Dani Moreno to support him along with double Vuelta winner Denis Menchov, Alberto Losado and Xavier Florencio. Expect to see a number of their Russians heading up the road in breakaways and then, in the dying kilometres, time-trialling away from their companions only to be recaptured by the peloton before the finish line.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the remaining eleven teams, from Lampre-ISD to Vacansoleil-DCM.

Link: Vuelta a Espana official website

Team updates: BMC, Euskaltel-Euskadi, FDJ-BigMat and Orica-GreenEDGE

At the beginning of the season, each member of the VeloVoices team selected one ProTeam to follow for the duration of 2012. Here’s an update on how each squad is progressing ahead of the start of the Vuelta a Espana.


WorldTour ranking: 5th, 649 points.

Major results:

  • Tour de France: Tejay van Garderen – 5th overall, won best young rider classification. George Hincapie – record 17 starts and 16 finishes. Cadel Evans – 7th overall, 2nd in stages 7 & 8.
  • Tour of Austria: Steve Morabito – 2nd overall.
  • Paris-Correze: Johann Tschopp – 3rd overall. Adam Blythe – won stage 1.
  • Eneco Tour: Taylor Phinney – 3rd in stage 1, 2nd in stage 6 ITT.

Cadel Evans had started his run-up to the Tour de France by riding the Critérium du Dauphiné, in which he did rather well by winning a stage and the points classification, and finishing on the third step of the podium. The stage was set for what was expected to be a close-run Tour between Evans and Bradley Wiggins. It was not to be, however, as Evans could not defend his title, finishing seventh in the race in July.

Tejay van Garderen did have a good Tour, however, by winning the best young rider jersey en route to fifth overall. And soon-to-be-retired George Hincapie was honoured by the peloton by being allowed to lead out the riders on the first lap of the Champs-Élysées first on the final Sunday. He also holds the record for completing the most Tours with 16, from 17 starts.


WorldTour ranking: 12th, 424 points.

Major results:

  • Tour de France: Egoi Martinez – 17th overall, 7th in stage 10, 3rd in stage 12.  Gorka Izagirre – 39th overall, 5th in best young rider classification, 5th in stage 14, 3rd in stage 16.
  • Tour de Pologne: Jon Izagirre – 7th overall, 9th in stage 6.
  • Prueba Villafranca de Ordizia: Gorka Izagirre – winner.
  • Vuelta a Burgos: Igor Anton – 9th overall, 3rd in stage 5. Gorka Verdugo – 13th overall.

After a great start to the season, Euskaltel have experienced a number of lows in the past month or so, most notably in the Tour de France where half the team, including defending mountains champion Samu Sanchez, crashed and exited injured. Samu, having briefly lost consciousness, was in tears as he realized the impact this would have on his team and his own ambitions both for the Tour and defending his Olympic crown. He’s well on the road to recovery and looking forward to the World Championships in late September on a course which perfectly suits him. Those riders remaining in the Tour did their best to animate and win stages with Egoi Martinez ultimately their best placed finisher at 17th overall.

Samu still accounts for most of the team’s UCI points (252 of 424) but Mikel Nieve, the Izagirre brothers, Martinez and Gorka Verdugo have also picked up points. They’ll now be looking to Igor Anton to add to that tally in the forthcoming Vuelta a Espana where he’s team leader with support from the French Basque pair of Pierre Cazaux and Romain Sicard, Miguel Minguez, Ivan Velasco, Amets Txurruka, Verdugo, Mikel Landa and Juan Jose Oroz.

The one piece of very good news is that the team has secured funding of €9m per annum for the next three years enabling it to retain the services of its key riders, such as Sanchez, Anton, the Izagirres and Nieve, and retain its WorldTour licence. Pro Cycling Team Basque, managed by Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, will take over the running of the team from the Euskadi Foundation. The team effectively will be boosted to 28 riders (currently 26) and, if necessary, they will take those of non-Basque origin. Carlos Barredo (Rabobank) and Dani Navarro (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) have been linked with a move to the new team. However, rest assured they will remain with their bright orange livery and we can still call them the ‘Carrots’.


WorldTour ranking: 17th, 173 points.

Major results:

  • National road race championships: Nacer Bouhanni – French national champion. Yauheni Hutarovich – Belarusian national champion.
  • Tour de France: Thibaut Pinot – 10th overall, won stage 8, 2nd in best young rider classification. Pierrick Fedrigo – won stage 15.
  • Tour de Wallonie: Nacer Bouhanni – won stage 1.
  • Paris-Correze: Kenny Elissonde – won stage 2.
  • Tour de l’Ain: Yauheni Hutarovich – won stages 1 & 2. Thibaut Pinot – won stage 5.

FDJ-BigMat have had an extraordinarily successful period since our last update, with the Tour de France a resounding success for Marc Madiot’s outfit. Not only has a new climbing star of the future been born in Thibaut Pinot, but another national favourite Pierrick Fedrigo delivered with a win on home turf. Pinot’s top ten finish sat alongside a memorable mountainous stage win, which culminated in Madiot yelling out of the team car, knowing that such a sponsor-pleasing success could guarantee his team’s future.

Speaking of young French talents, Nacer Bouhanni‘s quite astonishing season continued by taking the tricolore at the French national championships – a jersey he will proudly wear at the Vuelta later in the month. Bouhanni is only 22, but has had a resoundingly successful campaign this far, with a win on the opening stage of the recent Tour de Wallonie. His teammate Kenny Elissonde, one year his junior, will also have French mouths watering with a win at Paris-Correze.

Yauheni Hutarovich is comparably elderly at 28, but the sprinter has hit good form recently, collecting the Belarusian national road race title as well as a couple of wins at the ongoing Tour de l’Ain. 26-year-old Arnold Jeannesson will lead FDJ at the final Grand Tour of the year, and will be aiming for a high finish after a 14th place at last year’s Tour de France.


WorldTour team ranking: 8th, 486 points.

Major results:

  • Tour de France: Matt Goss – 2nd in stages 5 & 18, 3rd in stages 2, 6 & 20, 4th in stage 4, 3rd in points classification. Daryl Impey – 3rd in stage 14. Michael Albasini – 5th in stage 3.
  • Tour de Pologne: Aidis Kruopis – won stage 4.
  • Vuelta a Burgos: Simon Clarke – 2nd in stage 2, 3rd in stage 4. Allan Davis – 4th in stages 1 & 3.
  • Eneco Tour: Won stage 2 team time trial. Svein Tuft – won stage 6 ITT, leads general classification going into today’s final stage.

It has been a disappointing couple of months for Orica-GreenEDGE. Targeting stage wins at the Tour de France through Matt Goss, the team’s lead sprinter registered five top three finishes but never really looked like claiming a victory despite GreenEDGE possessing the second-best sprint train on show (behind Lotto-Belisol). Third in the points competition, well adrift of Peter Sagan, was a flattering reflection of the performance of the 2011 Milan-San Remo winner as he watched key rivals Sagan, Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish take three stages apiece. Daryl Impey and Michael Albasini also registered top-five finishes, but this was a Tour to forget for the ambitious Australian squad.

Things have improved somewhat since. Lithuanian sprinter Aidis Kruopis sped to his third win of the year during the Tour of Poland, and he was also part of the winning team time trial squad at this week’s Eneco Tour. Canada’s Svein Tuft took yesterday’s individual time trial to catapult himself to the top of the general classification, although he is highly unlikely to retain it on today’s queen stage.

Overall though, GreenEDGE cannot be unhappy with a debut season which continues to see them in the top half of the team rankings, even if the heady days of spring which saw Simon Gerrans sit atop the individual standings are now but a fond and distant memory.For 2013, however, the team will undoubtedly look to bring on board riders who can help them compete more prominently for overall finishes at key stage races.

Previous updates: June 24th, April 13thFebruary 24th,

Websites: BMC, Euskaltel-EuskadiFDJ, GreenEDGE

Twitter: BMC, Euskaltel-Euskadi, FDJGreenEDGE