By Laura Weislo
The Garmin-Chipotle team will head into 2009 with a 29-man roster for its first season in the ProTour ranks, manager Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews on Friday. The team will officially reveal its full roster at its November 22 team launch in Boulder, Colorado, but much of the information about transfers to and from the team has been made public already.
Most of the 2008 team will remain, including its stars Christian Vande Velde, David Zabriskie and David Millar, with the only exits coming from Christophe Laurent, who will join the Agritubel squad, and Patrick McCarty. The team added Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins, two Canadians from the Symmetrics team, Svein Tuft and Christian Meier, Australian Cameron Meyer, and Dutch riders Richard Van Der Velde and Hans Dekkers.
Vaughters denied that he hired riders with homonymic names just to make his directeur sportifs' lives more difficult. "We can change the riders around and they won't have to yell anything different," he joked.
He explained that he decided to complete the roster with talented young riders rather than add a more established name. "We went with a bunch of unconventional bets as opposed to signing a big name. It's more fun, really." He tipped Tuft as one of the riders to watch. "I think Svein is going to be one of the big stories of top level cycling next year," he said of the rider who took silver in the world time trial championships. "He comes with an incredible work ethic, and it will be nice to see him evolve."
Vaughters is giving special attention to 30-year-old Tom Danielson, who he thinks has not been riding to the level of his physical capabilities this year. "I'm personally coaching Tom for next year – we just started that this week," he said, adding that Danielson found his stride toward the end of the season after being left off the Tour team.
"Tom exhibited in Missouri – without him we wouldn't have won the overall - that he's learned to be a team member instead of an eccentric climber. Step two is getting back to his physical capabilities. He's had some tough times and coming off a very rigid organisation like Discovery and moving to a more self-motivated team like ours was a hard thing for Tom. I like to make the riders think for themselves, and he's always had someone telling him precisely what to do. My goal is to get him to start thinking for himself. He's proven he's a good team worker."