Who are the sponsor? Garmin make GPS navigation equipment, Sharp make electrical items such as televisions.
2012 Ranking: 9th
Past Stars: Bradley Wiggins, Heinrich Haussler, Thor Hushovd, Sep Vanmarkce, Fredrik Kessiakoff, Svein Tuft, Magnus Backstedt.
Selected Team Palmares: 1st, 2012 Giro d’Italia (Ryder Hesjedal) Stages, Tour de France (2011×2, Tyler Farrar and TTT, 2012, David Millar) Stages, Giro d’Italia (2010×2, Tyler Farrar, 2012, TTT), Stages, Vuelta a Espana (2009, 2010×2, Tyler Farrar) 2011 Paris-Roubaix (Johan Vansummeren)
Brief Team History: Garmin have developed mainly since 2008, when they became Slipstream with the promise of promoting clean cycling when they signed a raft of big names such as David Millar, Magnus Backstedt, David Zabriske and Christian Vandevelde. They kept plugging away at team time trials and won the Giro opening TTT to take the pink jersey at their first Grand Tour, then proceeded to offer the ‘suprise of the Tour’ each year, first with Christian Vandevelde coming 4th in 2008, the Bradley Wiggins coming 4th in 2009, Ryder Hesjedal managing 8th in 2010 and Tom Danielson 9th in 2011. Tyler Farrar briefly emerged as Cavendish’s main competition, as their classics riders, mainly drawn from the merger with Cervelo Test Team in 2011, gave them some good results although Vaughters quickly fell out with Hushovd, Vanmarcke and co for some reason.
Last year: The traditional ‘Tour suprise’ was in the wrong Tour, as Ryder Hesjedal won the Giro in exciting fashion by winning the race on the final day time trial. At the Tour, disaster struck, as most of the riders where knocked out in crashes, with only David Millar salvaging any pride. Then, it turned out the ‘clean team’ wasn’t so clean after all – first manager Vaughters casually admitted doping, then casually dropped it in that he’d known his riders had been at it before they came to Slipstream. Thus, Vandevelde, Zabriske and Danielson were all slapped with bans.
Transfer dealings: They’ve mainly gone for youth as they bring in men like Rohan Dennis and Caleb Fairly, with Nick Nuyens the only real marquee name as a replacement for the outgoing Sep Vanmarke and Heinrich Haussler.
Who are the star riders? Canadian Ryder Hesjedal is the star man now, thanks to his Giro heroics. David Millar is still the team stalwart, although his powers, reduced since his doping days anyway, are fading away. Nick Nuyens and Johan Vansummeren have won Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders between them, and will be the big classics riders for the team, whilst Daniel Martin will be hoping to stop coming second so much and win a race such as Liege Bastonge Liege. Then there’s the American contingent that will troop back in March from their very short bans, as Tom Danielson, Christian Vandevelde and David Zabriske resume where they left off having been very conveniently banned over the off season. More hopeful for the US is Andrew Talanksy, who took it to Bradley Wiggins at the Tour of Romandie last year in the time trials. There’s also Tyler Farrar, but this must be his last year to try and get some consistency in an increasingly erratic career.
Fashion police: They still insist on Argyle, which is a great shame, but it’s now only really visible if you look closely. The white back of last year is gone, replaced by more argyle.
What are their targets? Hesjedal thinks he can defend the Giro then go and win the Tour, and Vaughters will want a classics result from Nuyens and Vansummeren. Daniel Martin will want to win something, anything, and Andrew Talansky will want to improve on his Vuelta top 10 in 2012 with a Tour ride in 2013.
What are they likely to achieve? They’re probably not going to get any of their targets – the Giro will be over run with riders who will better Hesjedal, although he could suprise again like last year. If he does win it, he won’t win the Tour – not a chance. Nuyens might win Het Niewsblad, but nothing serious, whilst Martin will probably win something, but it wont be that important. Hopefully the dopey American contingent will just go to the Tour of California and lap up the attention, then retire.
Components: With kit made by Castelli that is aero, the idea is continued in Cervelo’s S5 aero model, as well as the R5 climbing/cobbles frame. Shimano, Rotor and 3T provide the components.
The Big Question(s): Can Hesjedal defend Pink then realistically try and win the Tour? Will there be any fallout for the team given the legions involved in the USADA furore?