While no team at the Tour de San Luis has as many new riders making their debut as Garmin-Sharp, with four of their six starters racing the first time for the US-based WorldTour squad, that in no way equates to any diminished expectations for the team in Argentina.
Garmin-Sharp is anchored at the Tour de San Luis by two team veterans, Tom Danielson and Tyler Farrar, with the quartet of Janier Acevedo, Ben King, Phillip Gaimon and Nathan Brown each making their team debut. King, the US pro road champion in 2010, arrives at Garmin-Sharp with two years of WorldTour team experience at RadioShack, while Acevedo, Brown and Gaimon are each making their WorldTour team debut as well having only raced for Continental teams previously.
Acevedo's WorldTour team debut has been eagerly anticipated as the Colombian had a breakthrough season last year in the USA while racing for the Jamis-Hagens Berman team. Acevedo went head-to-head with WorldTour talent to finish on the final podium at two of the USA's trio of premier stage races - Tour of California and the Tour of Utah - and narrowly missed a hat trick of final podiums with fourth overall at Colorado's USA Pro Challenge. Acevedo also won stages in both California and Colorado and spent a stint in the leader's jersey in California as well.
Garmin-Sharp team director Chann McRae expects Acevedo to pick up where he left off in 2013 as the squad enters the Tour de San Luis with a two-pronged GC threat in Acevedo and Danielson. With three mountain finishes and a 19.2km time trial on tap during the seven-day Argentinean race, it provides a stern early season general classification test.
"We definitely don't want to go away from here without either Janier or Tommy D on the podium," McRae told Cyclingnews prior to the team presentation.
The team's experienced sprinter, Tyler Farrar, too, is expected to make his presence felt in the remaining three stages which should yield bunch sprint finales.
"Tyler's probably sprinting the best he's ever sprinted in terms of power files so we're confident he's going to pull something off," said McRae. "He has the team behind him.
"We want to get our young guys through the race," continued McRae. "Some of them, for Phillip Gaimon and Nate Brown, it's their first race with the team, so we'll see how they go but I'm sure they'll be good."
The 2014 edition of the Tour de San Luis marks Garmin-Sharp's first participation in the Argentinean race, with only Acevedo having ever contested the event before. The Colombian put in a solid performance in last year's edition while on Jamis-Hagens Berman, finishing 8th overall.
During the team's pre-race stint in Argentina they've become well acquainted with the route of one of the mountain finish stages.
"We reconned stage two like crazy because it's close to the hotel and we know those roads," said McRae. "It's going to be a really hard 15-minute climb in the final, so you just have to be in really good position going into that."
And competing with a cap of six riders per team is nothing new for McRae, who had plenty of experience while directing Garmin-Sharp's development team.
"We always had to handle racing in the espoir races with only six guys so I'm used to that."
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