Katusha reunited for their annual soccer match in Peschiera del Garda in Italy. The four-day reunion is used to integrate the new and returning riders, and team staff, by playing a soccer game, and getting fit for new team clothing and equipment ahead of the coming season.
The soccer match is traditionally played between the riders and the staff, with the team’s staff being undefeated. This year for first time, however, a little extra time was required to decide the winners.
Joaquim Rodriguez, typically one of the stronger players, has been recovering from an injured and forced into a referee’s role, where players found his officiating to be quite 'severe'. Among the top players were Macro Haller, Alexander Kristoff, Tiago Machado and Alberto Losada, while Jurgen van den Broeck proved to be a formidable goalkeeper, however, he was not good enough to hold off the staff, who won the match nine to seven.
The most talented of the staff were directors Jose Azevedo and Xavier Florencio, mechanic Marco Melini and doctor Thomas Klimaschka, while the most "Commedia dell'Arte" player was soigneur Giuseppe Desiderio.
View the full gallery of the Katusha team soccer match above.