The Barloworld Continental Professional team convened in the Italian spa resort of Montecatini, Tuscany yesterday for its first team camp of the year. The squad will remain in Montecatini until February 2 for training and technical meetings and will make its European racing debut for the year at the GP Costa degli Etruschi on February 4, while three riders - Ryan Cox, Rodney Green and Jeremy Maartens - will join a South African team for the Telekom Malaysia Tour de Langkawi, February 3-12.
Barloworld has a new management structure for 2006, with Claudio Corti as team manager and Alberto Volpi, Christian Andersen and Giovanni Fidanza as directeurs sportifs. A long-term aim of the new management is for the team to "to find a place in cycling's elite within the next three years."
Igor Astarloa, the 2003 world champion in Hamilton, is the most prominent rider of a team that includes 17 riders from eight different countries.
"We're very enthusiastic about this new set-up", manager Claudio Corti said in a statement. "The work we're doing during the stay at Montecatini will be important so that we find the right motivation to focus on the objectives of the season.
"Team Barloworld is a team that has to grow but also includes several interesting riders. I know Astarloa well and I'm sure he wants to show what he can do and I'm convinced of the potential of all the riders starting with Arreitunandia, Cardenas, Cox, Efimkin and our sprinter Degano."