While preparing the celebrations of his 53rd birthday, Tinkoff sports director Bruno Chengialta is also ready to travel to Gran Canaria where he will stay until December 19 to prepare the 2016 season with the Russian team.
Everything is ready for the team to reach new heights with a roster that is mostly unchanged. There are five new signings: Italian Oscar Gatto (Androni Giocattoli), Slovakian Erik Baska (AWT Greenway, European U23 champion), Briton Adam Blythe (Orica GreenEdge), Russian Yury Trofimov (Katusha) and Austrian neo-pro Michael Gogl. In total, the team will have 28 riders. The technical staff will again be led by general manager Stefano Feltrin and team owner Oleg Tinkov and will be able to rely on Steven de Jongh, Cenghialta, Patxi Vila, Lars Michaelsen, Tristan Hoffman and Sean Yates. Ján Valach, former rider and coach of the Slovakian national team has been added to the group of sports directors and Ivan Basso will have a technical role as a link between the management and the riders.
"This year we wanted to lay the foundations of the new season already at the first meeting in Croatia at the end of the October,” Cenghialta tells Tuttobiciweb. “On that occasion we discussed things. We out our observations on the table and we made programs for the riders that we hope will serve the as much as possible. One of our goals is to be competitive immediately, both in Australia and in Argentina. We want the likes of Michael Rogers, Jay McCarthy, Oscar Gatto, Nikolai Trusov, Maciej Bodnar and Michael Kolar to start on the right foot. The same goes for Peter (Sagan), Rafal Majka, Pawel Poljanski, Ivan Rovny and Jesper Hansen.”
“A good start is an immediate signal. Our team must try to do very well on many fronts, both in the Grand Tours and in the spring classics. It will not be easy because there are very good teams in both the Grand Tours and the classics but we have riders of the highest level that can leave a mark.”
As an Italian, Cenghialta is likely to be one of the sports directors in the Giro where the team will have a clear leader.
“We will go there with Rafal Majka who after his 7th and 6th places in the Giro and 3rd place in the Vuelta has all the credentials to target at least the podium in the Giro.”
However, the main goal remains the Tour de France.
"And we're going to focus maximally on that with Alberto Contador. But the project will also include Peter (Sagan, ed.) who has immense class and he can always do something important,” Cenghialta said.
The first big goals are the spring classics.
"Peter will be surrounded by riders who will be able to support him and support him in the Northern campaign,” Cenghialta said. “Peter is an absolute champion. He is a power of nature. Alone he can do amazing things, but this year he will have riders at his side that are very well-prepared, like Oscar Gatto who will have the task to protect and help him in these races. It will not be easy, there are teams like Etixx and Lotto who are very strong for that type of racing but we know it and we want to have our say.”
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