Columbia tops team win list again in 2009

Team Columbia-HTC

Team Columbia-HTC (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The Columbia-HTC men brought in 86 victories on the 2009 season, the most wins of any other ProTour team for the second consecutive year, and one more than 2008. The wins came from 15 different riders and were scored from January to October.

"2009 proved to be an outstanding year for Columbia-HTC," said team owner Bob Stapleton. "We had ambitious goals with this international team of young riders, and we exceeded even our own expectations.”

The successful season opened with Michael Rogers winning the Australian national time trial title on January 8, and closed with Marco Pinotti winning the Città di Stressa time trial on October 18.

The team won 17 Grand Tour stages, six each at the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia, and five at the Vuelta a España. The first Grand Tour stage win of the season for the team was the team time trial opener at the Giro, and the remaining 16 stages were won by five riders. Sprinter Mark Cavendish won nine stages and sprinter André Greipel took four.

One-day race wins included the prestigious Milano-Sanremo, Gent-Wevelgem, Paris-Bourges and Eroica Classics.

Columbia also won six of the eight stages of the Tour de Suisse. It won stages at the Tours of Britain, Missouri, Poland, Austria, Qatar, California, País Vasco, Murcia and Romandie, as well as in the Ster Elektrotoer, Bayern Rundfahrt, and the Three Days of De Panne. It claimed three overall stage race titles: Tour of Britain, Eneco Tour and Österreich Rundfahrt.

Greipel won the green jersey in the Vuelta a España. The team also held various jerseys during the three Grand Tours, including the leaders' jerseys at the Giro and Vuelta. It could also boast of seven national time trial champions and one national road champion.

“These are fantastic accomplishments, but it's the exemplary teamwork demonstrated by our athletes and staff that we are most proud of," said Stapleton.

"What makes me so pleased about this degree of success is that everybody got their chance and everybody took their chance," said team manager Rolf Aldag.

Aldag said he was impressed by the quality of the team's wins. "I can't say which victory was the most memorable, although watching the entire team pull away on stage three of the Tour and then Mark Cavendish sprinting across the line in first place was pretty impressive. In terms of the quality of wins, I'd just say it's almost impossible to get better on that level.”

As for the coming season, Aldag said that the team will be “looking to see if our younger riders can confirm the faith we have in them." He listed Tony Martin and the neo-professionals the team signed.

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