Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank has become the latest in the UCI WorldTour to reveal its new kit for 2013.
The Danish team, which will be led again in 2013 by multiple Grand Tour winner, Alberto Contador, has made wholesale changes to its line up.
Irishman, Nicholas Roche, three-time world time trial champion, Michael Rogers, and Roman Kreuziger, a former winner of the Tour de Suisse and Tour of Romandy, are among the new signings.
Contador’s victory in the Vuelta a Espana was the team’s sole highlight of 2012 in a season dogged by controversy. The Spaniard missed much of the year serving the remains of a backdated two-year suspension.
And the team’s owner, Bjarne Riis, who famously confessed to doping 11 years after winning the 1996 Tour de France, had to deny allegations made by former rider, Tyler Hamilton, in the American’s book, The Secret Race.
Riis and his directeurs will hope to improve on Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank’s lowly fifteenth place in the UCI WorldTour rankings this season.
Contador is almost certain to target the Tour de France. Should he do so, he will present the greatest challenge to Bradley Wiggins’ stated intention to defend his title.
Roche, a talented all-rounder who has yet to achieve a major success, will ride in support of Contador at the Tour de France, as will Rogers, who proved himself a key lieutenant to Wiggins last July while a member of Team Sky.
Rogers enjoyed a successful 2012, finishing second to Wiggins in the Criterium du Dauphine, and winning Bayern-Rundfhart, but made a quiet exit from the team.
The Australian admitted last year to having been a client of Dr Michele Ferrari, the Italian doctor banned from cycling for life by USADA in July, several years before he joined Team Sky in 2011, but denied ever having taken performance enhancing drugs.
Kreuziger joins Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank from Astana. The Czech showed early promise, winning the 2008 Tour de Suisse and 2009 Tour de Romandie for Liquigas-Cannondale, but failed to secure an overall victory for Astana.
He finished third overall at last year’s Tirreno-Adriatico, and won stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia. Still only 26, he could yet become a contender for Grand Tour victories, but is likely to ride in support of Contador this season.
Other significant signings for Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank include Italian sprinter, Daniele Benatti, winner last year of stage 18 of the Vuelta, who joins from RadioShack-Nissan-Trek, Classics rider, Matti Breschel, who joins from the former Rabobank squad, since named Blanco Pro Cycling, and US road race champion, Tim Duggan, who rode last year for Liquigas-Cannondale.