Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Team Saxo Bank presentation: ”We will have a different focus in 2012”

New logo, new faces, new objectives but the same values. Team Saxo Bank presented today their team for 2012 in Copenhagen with a smiling and laughing Alberto Contador as front figure. From the moment he stepped on the stage, applauded by the audience, Contador was smiling and cracking jokes – a totally different scenario from just a week ago when he was defending himself against the doping charges in CAS.

So what’s new? Well all of you who followed my live tweets (and thanks for that!) already knows about the new logo, which I personally think looks good. Glad to see the eagle back in center again. In the beginning of his welcome speech Bjarne Riis put a lot of effort into explaining that the team would have some new objectives next year. Supposedly it’s not just about Alberto Contador winning the Tour. “We will have a different focus in 2012. We have a young Polish guy (Majka I guess) who we will see how far we can take in the Giro and then we want to build a lead out train for JJ. Haedo”, Bjarne Riis said.

Alberto Contador & Bjarne Riis
The different objectives also reflects in the activities for the up-coming training camp in Israel. “It will be a different program this time”, Riis continues. “We will stay there (in Israel) for two weeks where we will build a cycling school for kids with 2 classes. One Jewish and one Arabic. The plan is that the whole team (riders, managers, staff etc.) will be building this school within 2 days. Later on we will have a Criterium in the heart of Jerusalem. I have convinced the mayor and the police director to close down the center of Jerusalem so I’m really looking forward to seeing that”.

Personally I’m very excited about new idea about building a lead out train around Juan José Haedo. An idea that not even Haedo himself knew about for sure until today. “Actually I heard about it at the same time as you did. We have talked about it, but I didn’t know for sure until Bjarne said it at the presentation”, Haedo confesses and continues; “But of course I’m looking forward to it. It’s a new challenge for me, a step forward in my career. It gives me more confidence but we will have to practice a lot in order to take on the big teams. It’s going to be very interesting”.

Takashi Miyazawa
Another guy I’m looking forward to seeing in 2012 is newcomer Takashi Miyazawa. The Japanese puncheur knows that he is there to help his teammates but he is also a very aggressive type of rider who can both attack and sprint. So don’t be surprised to see him in the front when he gets the chance. You can follow Miyazawa on twitter at @Bravotakashi and I hope my mission on making him tweet in English and Italian will succeed! So far it has only been in Japanese… “Because I’m very famous back in Japan, but now I will try to be more international”, Miyazawa tells.

Biggest Danish name on the team this year is once again Chris Anker Sørensen, whose primary goal next year is “to win races”. As he explains: “I didn’t win anything this year and the Tour didn’t work out as we had hoped for either, so I really hope 2012 will be better. It would be amazing for me to take Alberto all the way to the Tour win on Champs-Élysées but of course I also want to win my own races. This year Christopher Froome ended 2nd in the Vuelta and he is rider on my level, so I just have to be ready to take the chance when it’s there”.

Well, that’s basically it for the team presentation. No breaking news or anything near that, but without a doubt a lot of hope for 2012 and for the training camp in Israel. Thanks for reading.

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