Tyler Hamilton meets his new Tinkoff teammates

Tyler Hamilton has been in Italy since this last weekend for the purpose of meeting his new team, Tinkoff Credit Systems. The 35 year-old American and his 17 teammates rode for one week in the Rivera Romagnola, near the town of Riccione. (Read Cyclingnews' recent interview with Tyler Hamilton.)

The team's financial backer, Russian Oleg Tinkov, talked with Hamilton at length both on and off the bike. Tinkov accompanied the riders on their training excursions.

For 2007 the team, including riders Salvatore Commesso and Danilo Hondo, will be in cycling's second-tier, professional continental. Are there thoughts of going up to the ProTour level? "Yes, it can be an objective," confirmed Tinkov to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "We need to see how much the ProTour progresses. ... The organizes [of the grand tours] and the UCI are far apart."

The team will be presented in Roma on January 23, which will be at the end of the team's next camp, January 8 to 24 in Marina di Grosseto (Toscana).

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