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2009 SUMMARY: Having been criticised in 2008 for reaping coverage that their performance on the road didn’t fully deserve, Vaughters’ team responded with a stellar ‘09 season, recording 29 wins. Their three stage wins at the Vuelta were among many highlights, while stand-out performers were sprinter Tyler Farrar and Bradley Wiggins. Farrar beat Mark Cavendish once and pushed the Manxman right through the year, while Wiggins proved himself to be a whole lot more than a track specialist-cum-time triallist.
LOOKING AHEAD: The departure of Wiggins will be compensated for to some extent by a fit Christian Vande Velde, who Jonathan Vaughters believes is a Tour podium contender. The key man for them, though, is Farrar. If the American peaks, Garmin may well surpass 2009’s achievements, with more of their riders gaining confidence and chipping in with victories.
THE LINE-UP: The loss of Wiggins is a severe blow, especially as it came so late into the season, leaving Vaughters with no obvious options to fill a huge gap in his roster. But with Farrar likely to be more prominent than ever, the sprint corps has been boosted by Robbie Hunter’s arrival and Vaughters seems to have a couple of gems among his young talent.
ONE TO WATCH: World U23 TT champion Jack Bobridge has rightly received plenty of attention after his successes last season but Garmin-Transition’s new Dutch arrival Michael Kreder looks to have the edge on him. He’s got experience, having ridden regularly against the top teams with Rabobank’s Continental outfit, and he’s strong on all terrains – especially when climbing.