Team Cannondale plans for 2013

The Liquigas-Cannondale team will become the Cannondale Pro Cycling team in 2013 with Ivan Basso leading a group of talented young sprinters and Classics riders that includes Peter Sagan, Elia Viviani,and Moreno Moser.

Despite reported pressure to be registered in the USA, the team will remain Italian in 2013 but will have a much more international roster with riders from 13 different nations. Vincenzo Nibali has moved to Astana, taking Alessandro Vanotti and Valerio Agnoli with him, while Sylvester Szmyd has moved to Movistar along with Eros Capecchi.

Ted King remains and has been joined by Canadian's David Boily and Guillaume Boivin but US national champion Timmy Duggan has moved to Saxo-Tinkoff.

The team has a secured a UCI WorldTour licence for 2013 and the riders have gathered near Milan, in northern Italy this week, to decide race programmes, meet sponsors, undergo medical checks and plan for the year ahead.

Peter Sagan will make his season debut in Argentina at the Tour de San Luis. Other riders will debut at the Tour Down Under, the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman, while Ivan Basso is likely to opt for a more traditional European approach and begin his season at the GP Lugano in Switzerland on February 24.

US races such as the Amgen Tour of California and the US Pro Challenge in Colorado will be also be major objectives for the team in 2013.

Ivan Basso will again target the Giro d'Italia in 2013, with Gazzetta dello Sport today suggesting that Damiano Caruso will ride in support of Basso after wearing the best young rider's white jersey during the 2012 Giro d'Italia, while Elia Viviani will be Team Cannondale's sprinter for the Corsa Rosa.

Peter Sagan will return to the Tour de France to defend his green points jersey and target more stage victories but the rest of the Tour squad is still to be decided, with Team Cannondale manager Roberto Amadio opting for a flexible approach to race programmes.

Moreno Moser emerged as one of the rising stars of Italian cycling in 2012, winning the Tour of Poland and Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt. He will make his Grand Tour debut in 2013 but no final decision has been made if the nephew of Francesco Moser will ride the Tour de France or the Vuelta a Espana.

The Vuelta could be ideal preparation for the world championships in Florence but three weeks in Spain could prove too much for the young Italian. An alternative would be to ride the Tour de France in support of Peter Sagan and to target hilly stages and breakaways.

Most of the riders have already begun training for the 2013 season and the whole team will head to Tuscany next week for a ten-day training camp.

The team's new jersey and bikes will be unveiled at the official team presentation in Los Angeles on January 12.

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