Team Katusha-Alpecin rolled out its new kit at its camp in Valencia today. The Russian squad welcomed ten new riders under the management of José Azevedo, who replaced Viacheslav Ekimov as General Manager of the team.
Most notable of the new signings is four-time time trial World Champion Tony Martin, who heads up the new wave of recruits after coming across from Etixx-Quickstep. Also new to the team are Baptiste Planckaert (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Rick Zabel (BMC), Robert Kišerlovski (Tinkoff), Maurits Lammertink (Roompot), Reto Hollenstein (IAM Cycling), José Gonçalves (Caja Rural), and neo-pros Jenthe Biermans, Mads Würtz Schmidt and Marco Mathis.
"I'm excited about all of our new signings," Azevedo said. "We have different goals for each of them. Of course when we sign a rider like Tony Martin who is four-time world champion, with all the races he has won on his palmares, and is one of the best riders in the world, we are excited that he comes to our team. We have goals for Tony and he knows we believe in him. Last season was not his very best but we know he has much more to give. I think a change of team for him will be very motivating."
Sprinter Alexander Kristoff remains the team's top performer with 33 wins over the past two seasons, but Azevedo sees opportunities for the other riders, too.
"A rider like Baptiste Planckaert is a sprinter and a fast rider. He will have his race calendar and in many races he will be our sprinter so we are hoping he can give us good results. Last year he was in the top 10 thirty-six times and won the UCI Europe Tour.
"Rick Zabel is a young rider who I think can be a very good sprinter in the future. He's going to ride for Planckaert but he will also be in the group of Alexander Kristoff and it's good for him to be in these groups to learn so in the future he can improve on his own results."
Ilnur Zakarin continues as the team's Grand Tour hopeful after stage wins at the Tour de France and Paris-Nice, and holding a near podium position before crashing out of the Giro d'Italia. He is expecting to target the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana next season, and gets a new helper in Robert Kiserlovski.
"Robert Kiserlovski will be in the group in support of Ilnur Zakarin on the big tours. I know and have worked with Robert before so I know he's an honest rider and a big professional. It is important to have a good rider like this with Zak," Azevedo said.
Click or swipe through the gallery of images to get a full view of the Katusha-Alpecin kit for 2017.
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