December traditionally marks the start of serious training for most professional riders and several teams will begun to get in the miles this week with training camps in Italy.
Liquigas-Cannondale will become Team Cannondale in 2013. Vincenzo Nibali has moved to Astana and US national champion Timmy Duggan has joined Saxo-Tinkoff but Peter Sagan and Ivan Basso remain as team leaders and are joined by nine international riders, including Lucas Sebastian Haedo and Canadian's David Boily and Guillaume Boivin from Spidertech.
Cannondale will stay in the Tuscan coastal town of Riotorto from Tuesday until Friday December 14. Southern Tuscany usually avoids the worst of the European winter, with the area offering flat and hilly roads for training rides. Cold temperatures are forecast for this week with a chance of rain but that is far better than Switzerland and northern Europe that is currently struggling with freezing temperatures and snow.
The Astana team has also begun training on the road, opting for Arzachena in northern Sardinia for a 10-day camp between today and Thursday January 13.
With Alexandre Vinokourov now team manager, Astana will have a different focus in 2013, with Nibali targeting the Giro d'Italia. New riders include Italian sprinter Andrea Guardini, who joins from Farnese Vini and Denmark's Jakob Fuglsang who is likely to target the Tour de France.
The USA's Evan Huffman is one of the young riders who has joined the team thanks to bike sponsor Specialized. Talented Italian Fabio Aru is also a name to watch. He joined Astana as a stagiaire in August after winning the Giro della Valle d'Aosta and finishing second in the GiroBio.
The Lampre team also begins its build-up for the 2013 season with a four-day get together in Darfo Boario Terme in northern Italy.
The riders will have their first contact with new trainer Michele Bartoli, finalise their race programmes and undergo the obligatory pre-season medicals.
Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Diego Ulissi will meet up their new teammates Filippo Pozzato sprinter Roberto Ferrari, Jose Serpa, Elia Favilli and Ariel Richeze. The team has yet to announce who will replace Roberto Damiani as senior directeur sportif.
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