Peter Sagan will ride Paris-Roubaix in 2014 and seek a third successive green jersey at the Tour de France, while Ivan Basso will aim for overall victory at the Giro d'Italia, the Cannondale Pro Cycling team announced on Wednesday following the conclusion of its training camp in Tuscany.
Sagan previously raced Paris-Roubaix in his first two professional seasons in 2010 and 2011, but crashes and mechanical problems meant that he made little impact on the Hell of the North. The Slovak has grown in maturity since then, however, and his results in the biggest one-day races have reflected that progress.
Winner of Gent-Wevelgem in 2013 and second at Milan-San Remo, E3 Harelbeke and the Tour of Flanders, Sagan will ride a similar schedule in 2014, but with the additional goal of the Hell of the North.
"It's a unique race, hard and unpredictable, and this is why it intrigues me," said Sagan, who finished second in the junior version of the race in 2008 behind Andrew Fenn. "I don't feel I can talk about goals or make any predictions. The first time I raced it as professional in 2010 I didn't arrive in Roubaix, and one year later I finished the race in the gruppetto far away from the leaders. I think it’s a race in which it’s important to have experience and luck, as well as to have a feel for it."
Sagan will begin his season at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina in January, before tackling the Dubai Tour, Tour of Oman, GP Camaiore, Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico as he builds towards the Classics. He will also return to the Tour of California in May before setting his sights on a third successive points classification win in France in July.
Basso goes to Taiwan
Though based in Italy, the Cannondale team has taken an increasingly international slant since the bike manufacturer’s elevation to the role of title sponsor last season, and that will be reflected in the squad's racing programme for 2014.
Thus, while the Giro d’Italia is Ivan Basso's main target of the year, his build-up sees him line up at the Tour of Taiwan instead of Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico. The veteran Italian will begin his campaign on home roads at the GP degli Etruschi and Trofeo Laigueglia, before riding the Volta a Catalunya, Giro del Trentino and Tour de Romandie in the lead-up to the Giro.
Basso will forgo the Tour de France in 2014 and ride the Vuelta a España instead, leaving Damiano Caruso to carry Cannondale's general classification hopes in France. Sprinter Elia Viviani, meanwhile, will return to the Giro and aim to land a stage win after coming close on several occasions in 2013.
While Sagan leads the line for Cannondale in the cobbled classics, Moreno Moser will take centre stage in the Ardennes classics. The Italian youngster will ride the same programme as Sagan until Milan-San Remo and then aim to make a greater impact in the Ardennes than he did in 2013. By that point, Cannondale's management will also have decided whether to hand Moser a Giro debut or hold him back for the Tour or Vuelta later in the year.
World under-23 champion Matej Mohoric’s first major outing as a professional will be at Paris-Nice, where Sagan famously won two stages as a neo-pro in 2010.
Elsewhere, Cannondale have confirmed that Ted King will accompany Sagan at the Tour of California, along with Canadian Guillaume Boivin, Maciej Bodnar and Fabio Sabatini.