Dutch champion to ride the Giro d'Italia
Johnny Hoogerland will ride for Gianni Savio's Androni Giocattoli team in 2014 after reaching a late agreement to join the Italian team.
The Dutchman rode for Vacansoleil-DCM this year but the WorldTour team has folded after being unable to find new sponsorship. Despite being known for his aggressive style of racing and being the current Dutch national road race champion, Hoogerland struggled to find a satisfactory offer from other WorldTour squads and so opted to join for the Italian-based Professional Continental team.
Hoogerland hit the headlines during the 2011 Tour de France when he was involved in a dramatic crash caused by a car passing the breakaway. He had scored enough KOM points during the stage to earn the polka-dot mountains classification jersey but crashed into a barbed wire fence and needed 33 stitches for his injuries. Nonetheless, Hoogerland finished the stage and ultimately completed the entire Tour.
This year he was hit by a car whilst training in Spain in February, suffering rib and spinal fractures, as well as liver damage. He returned to racing in late April and won the Dutch road title before riding the Tour de France. He was in talks with the Cannondale team but that option apparently ended when the team failed to reach a agreement with Tinkoff.
"Johnny is an important signing for us," Androni Giocattoli team manager Gianni Savio told Cyclingnews.
"He's the current Dutch national champion and has real character. I'm sure he'll do well. His character suits our team because we like to be aggressive in races and so does Johnny. We always go on the attack, as our record of 1680km on the attack at the Giro d'Italia proves, and Hoogerland is a natural born attacker."
Hoogerland is expected to be part of the team's Giro d'Italia squad alongside other new signings Manuel Belletti, who join from A2r-La Mondiale. Androni Giocattoli won the Coppa Italia series and so secured a wild card invitation to the Giro d'Italia.
Androni Giocattoli will have an 18-rider roster in 2014, with two further places remaining to be filled. Riders confirmed for 2014 include sprinter Mattia Gavazzi, Marco Frapporti, Emanuele Sella, Patrick Facchini, Matteo Di Serafino, Antonino Parrinello, Carlos Ochoa, Jackson Rodriguez and Diego Rosa.
Neo-pros include Yonder Godoy the Venezuelan Under 23 champion, Italy's Nicola Testi, Andrea Zordan and Gianfranco Zilioli.
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