One of the new names on Team CSC this season is Russian rider Alexandr Kolobnev, who joined the team after having been with Rabobank. "I had several offers to consider so I sat down and thought about what I want from a new team. I came to the conclusion that the most important thing for me is a team, where everything isn't centered around just one or two guys, and also for me to get a chance to make results of my own from time to time," said Kolobnev, who will begin his sixth season as a pro this year.
Even though Kolobnev has mostly worked as a helper in his career so far, he has still made good results in races like Flèche Wallonne, Giro dell'Emilia, the Olympics, GP Zürich, Tour de Suisse, Niedersachsen-Rundfahrt, Vuelta a la Comunidad Valenciana as well as in the Tour of Denmark. "I'm probably an all-round rider really, but it depends on the role I'm given in a specific race. It's important for me to define my role prior to a race, but if I'm given more freedom, than I've had so far, I see myself with lots of opportunities. I'm ok uphill, but not on the really long climbs though and if I'm in a small group I'm also pretty decent in a sprint," explained the 25 year-old Russian.
"I'm expecting to make my best results in the one-day races, but maybe also in the shorter stage races. The plan is for me to do Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España this year and I'm really hoping to do good work for the team." Kolobnev didn't really have any favourites as such, but imagined that races like Vattenfall Cyclassics, Giro Di Lombardia could be quite good for him. At the same time, he pointed out, "Team CSC has an objective to do well throughout the entire year and this is also my personal philosophy, so ideally I would like to be fast in all kinds of races."
This is not the first time a contract with team CSC has come up for Kolobnev, who had an offer from Bjarne Riis to join the Danish team, when he turned pro in 2001. "We spoke at the time, but I didn't know what to expect or what to look for. I signed with Acqua & Sapone and was with them for three years [they later changed their name to Domina Vacanze,] and after that I was with Rabobank for two years. But his year Bjarne was interested in signing me again and I was ready to try something new. I've been very impressed with Team CSC - both their results and the team itself so I jumped at the chance," concluded the young Russian.