The South African team Barloworld was presented in the Tuscan spa resort of Montecatini this week, where the riders are busy training for the season ahead. Run by Claudio Corti, the team has new red jerseys, Cannondale bikes, and the presence of Igor Astarloa, and observers could be forgiven for thinking that it was the reincarnation of the Saeco team.
"We've got a good team that is set to grow in the future as part of a program of development we're putting together with our sponsors, but I'm convinced 2006 will be a satisfying season," said Claudio Corti.
The team's three directeur sportifs (Alberto Volpi, Valerio Tebaldi and Christiaan Andersen) are already hard at work, getting ready to give Team Barloworld a successful start to the season. The team will make its official debut at the GP degli Etruschi in Tuscany on Saturday February 4, while three riders will ride the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia as part of a South African national team, with Ryan Cox one of the favourites after winning the race last year.
Igor Astarloa is again back with Claudio Corti after two unfortunate seasons, and he is hoping to recreate his success at Saeco in 2003, when he won Fleche-Wallone and the world road race championships in Hamilton. "I think I'm physically back to my best and I'm confident of doing well this year," said the Spanish rider. "The spirit in the new team is what I need to help me be successful again."
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