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Dekker, Rasmussen confirmed at Garmin gala

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(Image credit: Mark Johnson)
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Christian Vande Velde had special trousers for the night

Christian Vande Velde had special trousers for the night
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(Image credit: Mark Johnson)
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Alex Howes talks about how special it is to move up to the pro team

Alex Howes talks about how special it is to move up to the pro team
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Johan Van Summeren didn't realize there's a difference between argyle and plaid.

Johan Van Summeren didn't realize there's a difference between argyle and plaid.
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Heinrich Haussler spent hours in the salon to get his hair just right.

Heinrich Haussler spent hours in the salon to get his hair just right.
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Tyler Farrar has a beefed up lead-out train

Tyler Farrar has a beefed up lead-out train
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Tom Danielson seated comfortably

Tom Danielson seated comfortably
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Jonathan Vaughters explains his plans for the 2012 season

Jonathan Vaughters explains his plans for the 2012 season
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Ryder Hesjedal hid in the back, but got a huge round of applause when introduced

Ryder Hesjedal hid in the back, but got a huge round of applause when introduced
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Thomas Dekker was given a new lease on his career by Vaughters

Thomas Dekker was given a new lease on his career by Vaughters
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Christophe Le Mevel is the sole Frenchman on the team

Christophe Le Mevel is the sole Frenchman on the team
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The stage was turned into a cozy living room

The stage was turned into a cozy living room
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Haussler and Van Summeren

Haussler and Van Summeren
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A signed yellow jersey was auctioned off

A signed yellow jersey was auctioned off
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David Zabriskie performed for the crowd

David Zabriskie performed for the crowd
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Dave Zabriskie rolled out a song "Proud JV"

Dave Zabriskie rolled out a song "Proud JV"
(Image credit: Mark Johnson)
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(Image credit: Mark Johnson)
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(Image credit: Mark Johnson)
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(Image credit: Mark Johnson)
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(Image credit: Mark Johnson)
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Peter Stetina is popular with his local crowd

Peter Stetina is popular with his local crowd
(Image credit: Mark Johnson)
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(Image credit: Mark Johnson)
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(Image credit: Mark Johnson)
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David Millar told a story about the Tour

David Millar told a story about the Tour
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(Image credit: Mark Johnson)
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David Zabriskie sporting some fine mutton chops

David Zabriskie sporting some fine mutton chops
(Image credit: Mark Johnson)
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(Image credit: Mark Johnson)
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(Image credit: Mark Johnson)
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(Image credit: Mark Johnson)
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Anyone fancy a yellow jersey?

Anyone fancy a yellow jersey?
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Zabriskie was sporting some very special sideburns

Zabriskie was sporting some very special sideburns
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Zabriskie burst into song, not for the first time

Zabriskie burst into song, not for the first time
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Vande Velde in relaxed mood

Vande Velde in relaxed mood
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Peter Stetina was roped into the Argyle theme too

Peter Stetina was roped into the Argyle theme too
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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As a native of Boulder, Peter Stetina was right at home

As a native of Boulder, Peter Stetina was right at home
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Tyler Farrar won two stages at this year's Tour

Tyler Farrar won two stages at this year's Tour
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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British star David Millar

British star David Millar
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Millar will be hoping to build on a solid 2011

Millar will be hoping to build on a solid 2011
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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The stage looked a little like an old fashioned gentlemen's club

The stage looked a little like an old fashioned gentlemen's club
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Brandy and cigars, anyone?

Brandy and cigars, anyone?
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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All these riders and not a bike in sight...

All these riders and not a bike in sight...
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Dave Zabriskie holding court

Dave Zabriskie holding court
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Christian Vande Velde looks ahead to next season

Christian Vande Velde looks ahead to next season
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Alex Howe is hoping for a stellar 2012

Alex Howe is hoping for a stellar 2012
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Johan Vansummeren looks ahead to next season

Johan Vansummeren looks ahead to next season
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Heinrich Haussler enjoyed a great season in 2011

Heinrich Haussler enjoyed a great season in 2011
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Spirits were high between the riders at the launch

Spirits were high between the riders at the launch
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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There were plenty of laughs as the team looked ahead to 2012

There were plenty of laughs as the team looked ahead to 2012
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Haussler's haircut is admired by Thomas Dekker

Haussler's haircut is admired by Thomas Dekker
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Vande Velde was one of the evening's biggest jokers

Vande Velde was one of the evening's biggest jokers
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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The Garmin 2012 team listen patiently to Vande Velde

The Garmin 2012 team listen patiently to Vande Velde
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Vande Velde's trousers will be talked about for years to come

Vande Velde's trousers will be talked about for years to come
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Ryder Hesjedal recorded at top-20 finish at the 2011 Tour de France

Ryder Hesjedal recorded at top-20 finish at the 2011 Tour de France
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Thomas Dekker (right) will ride for Garmin next season

Thomas Dekker (right) will ride for Garmin next season
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Garmin will consider themselves amongst the favourites for all next season's big races

Garmin will consider themselves amongst the favourites for all next season's big races
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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The entire 2012 team was present

The entire 2012 team was present
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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He's behind you...

He's behind you...
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Hesjedal (centre) listens intently

Hesjedal (centre) listens intently
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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The riders kept the audience entertained

The riders kept the audience entertained
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Fans waiting for the Garmin presentation in Boulder

Fans waiting for the Garmin presentation in Boulder
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Garmin-Cervelo for 2012

Garmin-Cervelo for 2012
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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Argyle abounds at the Garmin presentation

Argyle abounds at the Garmin presentation
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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Garmin-Cervelo is presented for 2012

Garmin-Cervelo is presented for 2012
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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The Garmin-Cervelo team onstage

The Garmin-Cervelo team onstage
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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The Garmin-Cervelo team onstage

The Garmin-Cervelo team onstage
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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Garmin for 2012

Garmin for 2012
(Image credit: Mark Johnson/www.ironstring.com)
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Dave Zabriskie entertains the audience

Dave Zabriskie entertains the audience
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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The Ventura Theatre is full for the Garmin presentatin

The Ventura Theatre is full for the Garmin presentatin
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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The

The
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Team CEO Jonathan Vaughters at the team presentation

Team CEO Jonathan Vaughters at the team presentation
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Christian Vande Velde sports argyle pants at the team presentation

Christian Vande Velde sports argyle pants at the team presentation
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Presenting Garmin-Cervelo for 2012

Presenting Garmin-Cervelo for 2012
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Peter Stetina in argyle for the presentation

Peter Stetina in argyle for the presentation
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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David Millar has his say at the team presentation

David Millar has his say at the team presentation
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Alex Howe repeaed the arglye motif

Alex Howe repeaed the arglye motif
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Jon Cassat, Garmin VP for Communications, at the team presentation

Jon Cassat, Garmin VP for Communications, at the team presentation
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Garmin VIP for Communictions Jon Cassat at the presentation

Garmin VIP for Communictions Jon Cassat at the presentation
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)
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Dave Zabriskie at the Garmin presentation

Dave Zabriskie at the Garmin presentation
(Image credit: Casey Gibson/Garmin)

Garmin-Cervélo rolled out its 2012 WorldTour squad in front of several hundred fans and sponsors at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colorado, officially naming Thomas Dekker to the top level team as a late addition, after much speculation. Also in under the wire is Alex Rasmussen, whose whereabouts violation case was dismissed by his federation today and who therefore has a valid contract.

The presentation gala featured a film by producer Nigel Dick, entitled "Journey to a Dream", which reiterated the Garmin-Cervélo team's mission: to develop talented riders, to win against 'bigger' squads through sacrifice and teamwork and to act as champions in the anti-doping movement.

The film introduced two of the original riders developed by Vaughters, Alex Howes and Peter Stetina, against a recap of the team's success of 2011, and was followed by a speech from Slipstream Sports CEO, Jonathan Vaughters, which outlined the team's "firsts".

The 30-rider team includes additions to the sprint trains, with Robbie Hunter returning to the squad, plus fast men Rasmussen, Koldo Fernandez and Fabian Wegmann. Belgian Sebastien Rosseler adds firepower in the time trial as well as Classics departments.

Young riders Nathan Haas and Jack Bauer will be given leeway to find their places in the team, but both are fast finishers, while Alex Howes, Jacob Rathe and Raymond Kreder move up from the team's Chipotle development squad.

The "island of misfit toys"

Some may see the signing of Dekker, who admitted to doping and who served a two-year suspension, as going against the team's anti-doping mission, but team manager Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews that he is convinced that Dekker is committed to racing clean, and has the talent to succeed at the top level.

"We've done 18 months of testing on him to determine this," Vaughters said. "That included power tests every month and corresponding blood tests. His power should go up as his training increases, but his blood values shouldn't. That's exactly what happened, and his last tests when he won Duo Normand were world class."

The amount of talent in the Dutch rider coupled with his relative bargain contract price after his suspension gave Dekker the edge over other riders who were without contracts.

"Should I turn down an athlete who's in the top five per cent of guys from a physiological standpoint because he got caught [doping] when many others in his generation didn't get caught? That's a wrong decision.

"It is ethically wrong to toss aside someone for something they did because they got caught, but to welcome people who've done the same thing in their past and simply didn't get caught. It's an attitude that's taken far too often in cycling."

Vaughters said that Dekker arrived in the USA for the camp without a firm commitment, and that the decision came down to whether or not he could fit in with the team.

"He was scared, he came here without a contract at the beginning of camp. He stood up in front of the team and said this is what I did and it was wrong, and I want a second chance. It's not an easy thing to do ... especially for him - coming off the plane, not really knowing what to expect. I threw him off the deep end and didn't give him a lot of reassurances that it would work out.

"As the week progressed, he showed that he's willing to be a team player and to do things our way, not to do it his way or anyone else's. From an ethical standpoint, I feel like I need to give him a chance."

As far as Alex Rasmussen, Vaughters said he would honour the Dane's contract, which was not affected by his multiple whereabouts violations. Rasmussen tallied up three separate failures to accurately report his whereabouts to the anti-doping authorities, but blamed the lapses on "stupid mistakes". His federation dismissed his case when it found that the UCI failed to report his violation in a timely manner, as specified in its own rules. "It wasn't even guilty or not guilty, they dismissed it. He has a perfectly valid contract and will be racing with us next year," Vaughters said.

Returning riders set the tone

The team's veterans provided a rare glimpse into the inner workings of Garmin-Cervélo. From the sincerity of Tyler Farrar and Tom Danielson to the grateful Johan Vansummeren, the group's tight bonds were far from staged. The night's top entertainment came from the always frank David Millar giving amusing anecdotes from the Tour de France and Christian Vande Velde, who sported outrageous argyle trousers. But the night's biggest laugh, as usual, was from David Zabriskie, who performed a special song dedicated to Vaughters.

2012 Team Garmin-Cervélo

Returning:
Andreas Klier
Andrew Talansky
Christian Vande Velde
Christophe Le Mevel
Dan Martin
David Millar
David Zabriskie
Heinrich Haussler
Johan Vansummeren
Martijn Maaskant
Michel Kreder
Murilo Fischer
Peter Stetina
Ramunas Navardauskas
Ryder Hesjedal
Sep Vanmarcke
Tom Danielson
Tom Peterson
Tyler Farrar

New riders:
Alex Howes (neo)
Jacob Rathe (neo)
Raymond Kreder (neo)
Nathan Haas (neo)
Jack Bauer (Endura)
Thomas Dekker
Koldo Fernandez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Robby Hunter (RadioShack)
Sebastien Rosseler (RadioShack)
Alex Rasmussen (HTC-Highroad)
Fabian Wegmann (Leopard Trek)

Directors:
Johnny Weltz
Bingen Fernandez
Eric VanLancker
Geert Van Bondt
Charly Wegelieus

Director of Competition:
Allan Peiper