Garmin-Sharp has announced their Giro d’Italia squad with Ryder Hesjedal returning to defend his 2012 title. The Canadian will be joined by Christian Vande Velde, David Millar, Nathan Haas, Peter Stetina, Ramunas Navardauskas, Robbie Hunter, Thomas Dekker and Tom Danielson.
“Winning the Giro d’Italia in 2012 was a dream come true and it will be a true honor to pin on the Number 1 bib on Saturday,” said Hesjedal. “My season has been built around the Giro again this year with the goal of defending my title and the whole team is coming into it very focused and extremely motivated. I want to do my best to honor the race, to honor the Number 1 bib, and take it from there, day by day. I know we have a great team to be able to do that, and we will work hard, every day, with our goal in mind."
Hesjedal won the 2012 race in dramatic fashion, sealing the overall win in the final time trial. This year, with Bradley Wiggins and Vincenzo Nibali both lining up for the start, Garmin have sent one of their strongest squads. Peter Stetina finished 22nd in last year's race and will look to support Hesjedal in the mountains. Both Vande Velde and Danielson, suspended as part of the US Postal investigation carried out by USADA, have both finished in the top ten of the Tour de France. David Millar, Thomas Dekker and Robbie Hunter Navardauskas all have grand tour pedigree.
“Our team is built around our leader and defending champion, Ryder, and our goal is to do our best race and defend his title,” said Director Charly Wegelius. “We have put together a strong and well-balanced roster, with a focus on climbers to support Ryder in the mountains. The team is very motivated for what we know will be a grueling but beautiful race and we look forward to Saturday’s start.”
“This is a great mix of riders with a lot of depth and talent,” added Jonathan Vaughters, CEO, Slipstream Sports. “Our focus is on defending Ryder’s title. We know there is a lot of hard racing ahead but the team will take it day by day and do our best race.”