It’s easy to point out BMC’s aggressive strategy (BuyMoreCaptains) with riders like Philippe Gilbert, Thor Hushovd, Marco Pinotti and Tejay Van Garderen signing on for 2012, but instead of that I rather want to look at some of the scoops for next year.
Next up is Lampre. On one hand it seems like they want to back Alessandro Petacchi even more than this season with lead-out signings like Viganò, Paolini and Ongarato, but on the other hand they have also signed two of my favorite younguns in, future GC star, Mattia Cattaneo and Davide Cimolai who is planned to take over from Petacchi when he can’t win anymore, probably already this year. Two young Italians with huge potential good transfers!
Astana has also been quite aggressive, signing Brajkovic, Seeldrayers, Bozic etc for 2012. It’s no secret that I've already pointed out Janez Brajkovic as one of my top candidates for the Giro d’Italia next year, but let’s look at another new name at the Kazakh team instead. Francesco Gavazzi. Gavazzi has been riding in the shadows at Lampre his whole career and even though he has been able to shine a few times, like when he won a stage in the Vuelta España this year, I expect him to show his full potential in 2012. Gavazzi is a rider who should be named among the candidates for races like Milano-San Remo and Amstel Gold Race and without any other hilly sprinters at Astana, I think Gavazzi will turn out to be a really important signing for Team Vinokourov. Great transfer!
Last team for now is Team Sky. Everybody expected Mark Cavendish to sign on and of course he did just that. Cavendish is a guarantee for victories and that is exactly what Team Sky needs. Therefore Cavendish is the most important transfer of the season, no doubt. Still I would like to focus on little less known Salvatore Puccio. The young Italian won the U-23 version of Ronde van Vlaanderen this year and is a rider much like his hero Oscar Freire. Puccio is still very young and has a lot to learn, but I think we will already see some of his enormous talent next year. Great transfer!
Well that’s it for now. These are the signings I see as the most interesting for 2012. Please feel free to comment if you agree or disagree.
For my view on Team Saxo Bank’s transfer situation please read my piece “Explanation - Why Saxo Bank hasn’t signed a new star to help Contador” by clicking here.