Well it’s official, I'll be riding in the argyle colours of team Garmin-Cervélo next year and honestly I'm really excited to be part of what I think will be the biggest and best Classics team in the world.
There was a lot of confusion, rumour and speculation surrounding the whole saga so I think it’s best I clear a few things up. Firstly, the entire Cervélo team was notified that the team would fold at the end of the year in an email. It came as a shock but a lot of us - the riders - felt that something was going on behind the scenes. Why else would there be no new signings in such a long period?
The first thing I did was call my teammate Jeremy Hunt and we talked about the news. Unfortunately Jez won't be one of the riders coming across with us to the new team and it’s a real shame. He’s a great guy and someone that I've spent a lot of time with. He’s a super rider too, totally willing to sacrifice his race if needed.
Anyway, that evening I talked to Gerard Vroomen who explained the situation in a bit more detail and went through the likely outcomes. That night I missed a call from Jonathan Vaughters. He left a message and asked that I call him as soon as I was awake and when we spoke I knew that signing with his team was the right move. I'd never spoken to Jonathan before but what he had to say convinced me that the team would be a good fit for me.
A lot people have jumped at the fact that Tyler Farrar, Thor Hushovd and I will be on the same team but I don't think it’s going to be a problem. The first time I raced against Tyler I was 15 or 16 and I've known him for ages. He’s concentrating more on the pure sprints and I just want to focus on the Classics, so while I'm sure we'll race together a lot I can't see there being any issues, in fact we'll be one of the best units when we work together.
Another thing that needs clarification is that Garmin wasn't the only team in the frame for my signature. Gerard didn't simply throw the Cervélo keys to Jonathan and say, 'here you go, you can do what you want'. I could have gone to other teams, lots contacted my manager. However, once I talked to Jonathan I knew what I wanted to do. At the end of the day, I'm 26 and in my prime. If I was 33 or 34 I could have just chased the biggest paycheck but I really honestly wanted to go with Garmin and to ride Cervélo bikes again for next year.
Don't get me wrong, although we're strong on paper for next year it’s still going to be as hard as hell to win a Classic but we're the best team to do it.
At the same time it’s sad that the team has come to an end like this. I had a great time with the guys at Cervélo and I'll continue to do so right up until my final race. Yet it’s a shame that guys are still trying to find contracts. The management at Cervélo are doing everything they can to help - of course they realise that they broke the news late in the year - but hopefully everyone will find something.
As for my schedule for next year, there’s still a few things to sort out and finalise but right now it’s looking likely that I'll do the Classics, Giro, Vuelta and Worlds. That means possibly missing the Tour de France. I don't want to say I'm definitely not going to do the Tour but I want to concentrate on the one-day races and the Worlds.
Before all that I've got to reach a better fitness level. I've not raced since June and later today I'll be flying over to the UK for the start of the Tour of Britain. It'll be the first time I've seen some of my teammates in a long time and I'm looking forward to it.
I'm not really sure where my form is at the moment. I'm trying to get as fit as possible and build up for next year. But things are already look up for next year.