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Gallery: Tinkoff-Saxo in pre-season training

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Alberto Contador in training in Gran Canaria with his Tinkoff-Saxo team.

Alberto Contador in training in Gran Canaria with his Tinkoff-Saxo team.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo).

Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) goes deep in training.

Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) goes deep in training.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Roman Kreuziger in flight at the Tinkoff-Saxo training camp.

Roman Kreuziger in flight at the Tinkoff-Saxo training camp.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) is aiming to build on last season's very promising Giro d'Italia showing.

Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) is aiming to build on last season's very promising Giro d'Italia showing.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Michael Mørkøv in the colours of Danish champion.

Michael Mørkøv in the colours of Danish champion.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Bjarne Riis is no longer team owner but retains a hands-on role as manager of Tinkoff-Saxo.

Bjarne Riis is no longer team owner but retains a hands-on role as manager of Tinkoff-Saxo.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) is targeting the Giro d'Italia in 2014.

Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) is targeting the Giro d'Italia in 2014.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador and Roman Kreuziger set the tempo on a climb.

Alberto Contador and Roman Kreuziger set the tempo on a climb.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Roman Kreuziger and Alberto Contador lead the line for Tinkoff-Saxo.

Roman Kreuziger and Alberto Contador lead the line for Tinkoff-Saxo.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tinkoff-Saxo are days away from the beginning of a new campaign.

Tinkoff-Saxo are days away from the beginning of a new campaign.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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After a winter of uncertainty, Tinkoff-Saxo is on track for 2014.

After a winter of uncertainty, Tinkoff-Saxo is on track for 2014.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tinkoff-Saxo get in the miles in Gran Canaria.

Tinkoff-Saxo get in the miles in Gran Canaria.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador leads his Tinkoff-Saxo teammates on a training ride.

Alberto Contador leads his Tinkoff-Saxo teammates on a training ride.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tinkoff-Saxo prepare for the 2014 season.

Tinkoff-Saxo prepare for the 2014 season.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Thumbs up. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) aims to hit the ground running in 2014.

Thumbs up. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) aims to hit the ground running in 2014.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador confers with Roman Kreuziger.

Alberto Contador confers with Roman Kreuziger.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Daniele Bennati in conversation with Tinkoff-Saxo manager Bjarne Riis.

Daniele Bennati in conversation with Tinkoff-Saxo manager Bjarne Riis.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo).

Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo).

Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador ahead of the day's training ride.

Alberto Contador ahead of the day's training ride.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador remains the leader at Tinkoff-Saxo.

Alberto Contador remains the leader at Tinkoff-Saxo.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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2014 is a very important year for Alberto Contador.

2014 is a very important year for Alberto Contador.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) is aiming for Tour de France glory in 2014.

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) is aiming for Tour de France glory in 2014.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) checks out his steed ahead of training.

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) checks out his steed ahead of training.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Roman Kreuziger and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).

Roman Kreuziger and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Roman Kreuziger and Alberto Contador match one another on a climb.

Roman Kreuziger and Alberto Contador match one another on a climb.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Roman Kreuziger and Alberto Contador lead the group ride.

Roman Kreuziger and Alberto Contador lead the group ride.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tinkoff-Saxo on the road for 2014 in Gran Canaria.

Tinkoff-Saxo on the road for 2014 in Gran Canaria.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The name and kit may have undergone alterations, and Bjarne Riis may no longer be the team owner, but it was business as usual for the Tinkoff-Saxo riders on their pre-season training camp in Gran Canaria, as Alberto Contador and his teammates put the finishing touches to their preparations for 2014.

Unlike in recent seasons, when he has started racing in January at the Tour de San Luis, Contador’s campaign begins a little later, at the Volta ao Algarve, and he was happy to take advantage of the fine weather to log significant training miles during his stint in the Canary Islands.

Contador’s primary target in 2014 is July’s Tour de France, where Roman Kreuziger, 5th overall last season, will be his chief lieutenant. The Czech rider will expect to shine again at the Ardennes classics in April, and he already appears close to his racing weight.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Giro d’Italia challenge will be led by Rafal Majka and Nicolas Roche, who both delivered the best stage racing performances of their careers last season. Roche’s preparation has been beset by injury in recent weeks, but he was back on the bike in Gran Canaria and confident that he will be ready for the big rendezvous in May.

And in spite of his sale of the team’s WorldTour licence to Oleg Tinkov and the ongoing investigation into his activities by the Danish Anti-Doping Agency, Bjarne Riis maintains a hands-on role in the management of the squad, telling Cyclingnews that he wants the team to challenge for major honours in 2014. “Hopefully we win a little bit more than last year and then build it up the year after that,” he said. “It’s important to win. We need to win and be strong.”